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An Analysis of Sibling Correlations in Health using Latent Variable Models

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  • Timothy J. Halliday
  • Bhashkar Mazumder

Abstract

We investigate sibling correlations in youth health status using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We do so by estimating the covariance structure of a system of equations in latent variables using methods that have hitherto not been used in the literature on intergenerational transmissions of health. Across a battery of outcomes, we find that between 50 and 60% of health status can be attributed to shared familial or neighborhood characteristics. Taking the principal component across all outcomes, we obtain a sibling correlation of about 53%. These estimates, which are larger than previous estimates of sibling correlations in health that rely on linear models, are more in‐line with sibling correlations in income and suggest that health status, like other measures of socioeconomic success, is strongly influenced by family background. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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  • Timothy J. Halliday & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2017. "An Analysis of Sibling Correlations in Health using Latent Variable Models," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(12), pages 108-125, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:26:y:2017:i:12:p:e108-e125
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.3483
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    1. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 15, pages 1315-1486, Elsevier.
    2. Mazumder Bhashkar, 2011. "Family and Community Influences on Health and Socioeconomic Status: Sibling Correlations Over the Life Course," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-23, September.
    3. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus, 2012. "How important is family background for labor-economic outcomes?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 465-474.
    4. Schnitzlein, Daniel D., 2014. "How Important Is the Family? Evidence from Sibling Correlations in Permanent Earnings in the USA, Germany, and Denmark," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 69-89.
    5. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Sibling similarities and economic inequality in the US," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 685-701, July.
    6. Björklund Anders & Lindahl Lena & Lindquist Matthew J., 2010. "What More Than Parental Income, Education and Occupation? An Exploration of What Swedish Siblings Get from Their Parents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Cawley & Euna Han & Jiyoon Kim & Edward C. Norton, 2019. "Testing for family influences on obesity: The role of genetic nurture," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 937-952, July.
    2. Björkegren, Evelina & Lindahl, Mikael & Palme, Mårten & Simeonova, Emilia, 2019. "Pre- and Post-Birth Components of Intergenerational Persistence in Health and Longevity: Lessons from a Large Sample of Adoptees," IZA Discussion Papers 12451, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Elisabeth Bügelmayer & Daniel D. Schnitzlein, 2018. "Is it the family or the neighborhood? Evidence from sibling and neighbor correlations in youth education and health," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 16(3), pages 369-388, September.
    4. Carsten Andersen, 2019. "Intergenerational Health Mobility: Evidence from Danish Registers," Economics Working Papers 2019-04, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    5. Giuntella, Osea, 2017. "Why does the health of Mexican immigrants deteriorate? New evidence from linked birth records," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 1-16.
    6. Timothy J. Halliday & Bhashkar Mazumder & Ashley Wong, 2020. "The intergenerational transmission of health in the United States: A latent variables analysis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 367-381, March.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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