The Effect of Changes in Educational Composition on Adult Female Mortality in Brazil
Cassio M. Turra, Cedeplar, UFMG
Elisenda Renteria, International Agency for Research on Cancer
Raquel Guimaraes, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)
The last century in Brazil witnessed profound changes. Female life expectancy at birth increased from 34.6 years in 1910 to 77.26 years in 2010. At the same time, the educational composition of the population has changed dramatically. In the 1940s, only 25 percent of the children aged 5 to 14 years were enrolled in school. Currently, nearly all children aged 7 and 14 years attend school. We examine the extent to which changes in the age-specific distribution of education have contributed to the decline in adult mortality among women in Brazil. Our analysis follows other applications in the literature to measure the reduction in mortality that would occur if exposure to specific risk factors were changed to a counterfactual level. The effects are not trivial: about 41% of life expectancy gains at age 30, between 1960 and 2010, are attributable to changes in educational composition of the female population.