We investigate the returns to college attendance in Canada in terms of health and mortality reduction. First, we use a dynamic health microsimulation model to document how interventions which incentivize college attendance among high school graduates impact their health trajectory, health care consumption and life expectancy. We find large returns on these three aspects. We then provide quasi-experimental evidence on the impact of college attendance on long-term health outcomes by exploiting the Canadian Veterans Rehabilitation Act, a program targeted towards WWII veterans that incentivized college attendance. The impact on mortality is found to be larger than that estimated from the health microsimulation model, which suggests substantial returns to college education in terms of healthy life extension which we estimate at around CA$ 1 million.
Publication Authors: Guy Lacroix, François Laliberté-Auger, Pierre-Carl Michaud and Daniel Parent