Although researchers agree that more educated people typically engage in healthier behaviors, they have not uncovered the reason why. This paper considers several explanations, including future opportunity costs. Future opportunity costs represent any utility-improving future outcome that is affected by currently engaging in health-related behavior. This paper also examines whether there are degree effects in the health behaviors of binge drinking and smoking. Results suggest that future opportunity costs may affect smoking, although other interpretations cannot be ruled out. The results also find degree effects with regard to binge drinking.
The relationship between education and health behavior: Some empirical evidence
Cowell, A. (2006). The relationship between education and health behavior: Some empirical evidence. Health Economics, 15(2), 125-146.