We investigate an Educational Attainment Polygenic Score (EA PGS), an index that predicts years of formal education based on individual genetic data. In our analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health we find that the EA PGS is associated with a number of health-related outcomes and interacts with parental socioeconomic status (SES) in childhood. We observe that the association between EA PGS and health-related outcomes is typically strong and health-beneficial for high-SES subjects, but small or nonexistent for low-SES ones. We provide suggestive evidence of the mechanisms behind estimated relationships including early health, skills, parental and child’s own attitude towards education, education itself, as well as outcomes related to occupation and wealth. Finally, we show that a strong association between education and health-related outcomes survives controlling for genetic endowments for health and education, which adds evidence to the ongoing debate about the causal relationship between education and health.
Third version, October 24, 2022
I12: Health Production
I14: Health and Inequality
I24: Education and Inequality
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity