IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Work and the accommodation of chronic illness: A re-examination of the health-labour supply relationship


  • Sven Wilson


This study uses a data set of over 14000 households from the state of New Jersey in the USA to estimate the impact of specific chronic health conditions on the probability of employment and finds wide variation of employment impacts across chronic conditions. Additionally, the elasticity of the employment response is generally greater for women and lower-skilled workers. Most notable is the role of comorbidity. Individuals with multiple conditions have markedly lower probability of employment, and chronic illness explains virtually all of the large gap in employment probability for those who have multiple conditions. This is shown using a summary index of disease status that correlates closely with employment rates across age groups. In the aggregate, chronic disease striking in adulthood explains about 10% of the total non-employment in the New Jersey among those aged 35-74. Finally, cross-sectional evidence gives little support for health as a primary determinant of the aggregate age-employment profile, though controlling for the age-specific severity of conditions may alter this finding.

Suggested Citation

  • Sven Wilson, 2001. "Work and the accommodation of chronic illness: A re-examination of the health-labour supply relationship," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 1139-1156.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:33:y:2001:i:9:p:1139-1156
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840010004527

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. George Psacharopoulos, 1985. "Returns to Education: A Further International Update and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 583-604.
    2. Duncan, Greg J. & Hoffman, Saul D., 1981. "The incidence and wage effects of overeducation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 75-86, February.
    3. Alfonso Alba-Ramírez, 1993. "Mismatch in the Spanish Labor Market: Overeducation?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(2), pages 259-278.
    4. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," Working Papers 710, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," Working Papers 710, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    7. Courakis, Anthony S, 1991. "Labour Skills and Human Capital in the Explanation of Trade Patterns," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 443-462, July.
    8. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, January.
    9. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    10. Hartog, Joop & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1988. "Education, allocation and earnings in the Netherlands: 0verschooling?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 185-194, April.
    11. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-458, March.
    12. Bernd Fitzenberger & Claudia Kurz, 2003. "New insights on earnings trends across skill groups and industries in West Germany," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 479-514, July.
    13. Koenker, Roger & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1982. "Robust Tests for Heteroscedasticity Based on Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 43-61, January.
    14. Hartog, Joop, 1986. "Allocation and the Earnings Function," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 97-110.
    15. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1995. "Quantile regression, Box-Cox transformation model, and the U.S. wage structure, 1963-1987," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 109-154, January.
    16. Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. ""Overeducation" in the Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 101-122, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Chung Choe, 2013. "Determinants of Labor Market Outcomes of Disabled Men Before and After the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 29, pages 211-233.
    2. Laura Romeu Gordo, 2006. "Effects of short- and long-term unemployment on health satisfaction: evidence from German data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(20), pages 2335-2350.
    3. Veronesi, Marcella, 2007. "Environmental Risk Factors, Health and the Labor Market Response of Married Men and Women in the United States," Working Papers 98552, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:33:y:2001:i:9:p:1139-1156. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.