Education and Family Health Care Spending

Alan C. Monheit and Irina B. Grafova

Publication Date: 06/20/2018

Michael Grossman’s seminal work on the demand for health extended the concept of a household production function to the commodity “good health.” In this framework, education represents an “environmental variable” that enhances the monetary returns to investments in health through the use of time and medical care in health production. Using data from the 2004 to 2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), we examine the association between parental education and family health care spending in single-mother and two-parent families. We estimate one- and two part expenditure models for total family health care spending, for specific components of such spending, and also examine the impact of parental education on selected measures of family health. Controlling for family income and health insurance status, we find consistent evidence that parental education beyond 12 years of schooling is associated with increases in family health care spending and with reductions in the likelihood of adverse health conditions.

Alan C. Monheit and Irina B. Grafova “Education and Family Health Care Spending.” Southern Economic JournalJuly, 2018.