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The Impact of Early Occupational Choice On Health Behaviors

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  • Inas Rashad Kelly
  • Dhaval M. Dave
  • Jody L. Sindelar
  • William T. Gallo

Abstract

Occupational choice is a significant input into individuals’ health investments, operating in a manner that can be either health-promoting or health-depreciating. Recent studies have highlighted the potential importance of initial occupational choice on subsequent outcomes pertaining to morbidity. This study is the first to assess the existence and strength of a causal relationship between initial occupational choice at labor entry and subsequent health behaviors and habits. We utilize the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to analyze the effect of first occupation, as identified by industry category and blue collar work, on subsequent health outcomes relating to body mass index, obesity, alcohol consumption, and physical activity in 1999-2005. Our findings suggest that initial occupations described as craft, operative, and service are related to higher body mass index and obesity later in life, while labor occupations are related to higher probabilities of smoking later in life. Blue collar work early in life is associated with increased probabilities of obesity and smoking, and decreased physical activity later in life, although effects may be masked by unobserved heterogeneity. Few effects are found for the effect of initial occupation on alcohol consumption. The weight of the evidence bearing from various methodologies, which account for non-random unobserved selection, indicates that at least part of this effect is consistent with a causal interpretation. These estimates also underscore the potential durable impact of early labor market experiences on later health.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16803.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Publication status: published as Dave, D. M., Kelly, I., Sindelar, J., Gallo, W. (2012). The Impact of Early Occupational Choice on Health Behaviors. Review of Economics of the Household.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16803

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Cited by:
  1. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Are More Senior Academics Really More Research Productive than Junior Academics? Evidence from Australian Law Schools," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 47-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  2. Hendrik Jürges, 2009. "The effect of compulsory schooling on health - evidence from biomarkers," MEA discussion paper series 09183, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  3. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2011. "Black-White Marital Matching: Race, Anthropometrics, and Socioeconomics," IZA Discussion Papers 6196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Maclean, Johanna Catherine, 2013. "The health effects of leaving school in a bad economy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 951-964.
  5. Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2012. "A Matter of Weight? The Role of Spouses. Physical Attractiveness on Hours of Work," CHILD Working Papers Series 7, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  6. Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2012. "Fat spouses and hours of work: are body and Pareto weights correlated?," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, December.
  7. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "It Pays to Be Happy (If You are a Man): Subjective Wellbeing and the Gender Wage Gap in Urban China," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 51-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  8. Ravesteijn, Bastian & van Kippersluis, Hans & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2013. "The Wear and Tear on Health: What is the Role of Occupation?," MPRA Paper 50321, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China: New Evidence Using Heteroskedasticity Restrictions to Obtain Identification Without Exclusion Restrictions," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 33-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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