We explore the relationship between education and mortality in a young population of males.
We overcome omitted-variable bias by instrumenting education with the exemption from
military service granted to certain cohorts of males in specific towns in the aftermath
of a quake in Southern Italy in 1980. Results are based on comparisons of exempt and not
exempt cohorts in towns least damaged by the quake with the same cohorts living in nearby
towns outside the quake region. We find that the exemption increased high school completion
rates by about 2.5 percentage points; mortality rates of the same cohorts also were
significantly lower by about one fourth. Results are robust to a set of falsification
exercises and consistency checks. Strikingly, we find the effect to be due to deaths for
natural causes rather than accidental ones.
Alfonso Rosolia (Bank of Italy, Italy)
Date & time:
28 Jan 2008 16:00 pm - 28 Jan 2008 00:00 am
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