The correlation between health and education, also known as the health-education gradient, is a clearly established empirical result. If higher education is associated with better health, it is however not clear whether the relation is causal. Precisely, three different (and non-necessarily mutually exclusive) pathways can be considered:
1. Education causes health.
2. Health causes education.
3. A third variable positively influences both health and education.
Disentangling the causal pathways between health and education has major policy implications. If education affects health, then it suggests that educational policy could be used as a health policy. If the causality goes from health to education, then using health policy to impact educational outcomes might prove useful