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The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance

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Author Info

  • Case, Anne
  • Fertig, Angela
  • Paxson, Christina

Abstract

We quantify the lasting effects of childhood health and economic circumstances on adult health, employment and socioeconomic status, using data from a birth cohort that has been followed from birth into middle age. Controlling for parental income, education and social class, children who experience poor health have significantly lower educational attainment, poorer health, and lower social status as adults. Childhood health and circumstance appear to operate both through their impact on initial adult health and economic status, and through a continuing direct effect of prenatal and childhood health in middle age. Overall, our findings suggest more attention be paid to health as a potential mechanism through which intergenerational transmission of economic status takes place: cohort members born into poorer families experienced poorer childhood health, lower investments in human capital and poorer health in early adulthood, all of which are associated with lower earnings in middle age — the years in which they themselves become parents.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 365-389

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:24:y:2005:i:2:p:365-389

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
  2. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2004. "Sex Differences in Morbidity and Mortality," Working Papers 171, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  3. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 2004. "Broken down by work and sex: how our health declines," Working Papers 257, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  4. Janet Currie & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1998. "Health, Health Insurance and the Labor Market," JCPR Working Papers 27, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  5. Stephen Wu, 2003. "The Effects of Health Events on the Economic Status of Married Couples," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
  6. James Smith, 2005. "Consequences and Predictors of New Health Events," NBER Chapters, in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 213-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Chandola, Tarani & Bartley, Mel & Sacker, Amanda & Jenkinson, Crispin & Marmot, Michael, 2003. "Health selection in the Whitehall II study, UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(10), pages 2059-2072, May.
  8. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Mothers and Others: Who Invests in Children's Health?," NBER Working Papers 7691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2000. "Child Development and Success or Failure in the Youth Labor Market," NBER Chapters, in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 247-288 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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