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The Educational Gradient in Health in China

Journal Article

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The China Quarterly, Vol. 230, page(s): 289-322

05/15/2017

Cover of the Journal The China Quarterly

It has been well established that better educated individuals enjoy better health and longevity. In theory, the educational gradients in health could be flattening if diminishing returns to improved average education levels and the influence of earlier population health interventions outweigh the gradient-steepening effects of new medical and health technologies. This paper documents how the gradients are evolving in China, a rapidly developing country, about which little is known on this topic. Based on recent mortality data and nationally representative health surveys, we find large and, in some cases, steepening educational gradients. We also find that the gradients vary by cohort, gender and region. Further, we find that the gradients can only partially be accounted for by economic factors. These patterns highlight the double disadvantage of those with low education, and suggest the importance of policy interventions that foster both aspects of human capital for them.

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