Health Economics Seminars (EUR)

Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder (University of Bristol, United Kingdom and Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Thursday, 11 October 2018

This paper exploits the 1972 British compulsory schooling law that raised the minimum school leaving age from 15 to 16 to examine the causal effect of education on the nutritional composition of the diet around middle age. Using a regression discontinuity design, the findings suggest that the reforms led to a worsening of the quality of the diet, with increases in total calories, carbohydrates, sugars, fats, saturated fats and some proteins. However, I find that these changes are compensated by a discontinuous increase in physical activity. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest little to no effect on the balance of calories in versus out. I discuss the implications of these findings.