The Influence of Early-Life Events on Human Capital, Health Status, and Labor Market Outcomes Over the Life Course
Using nationally representative data from the US, this study provides evidence on the relationship between early life conditions and cognition, human capital accumulation, labor market outcomes, and health status in adulthood. We find that poor health at birth and limited parental resources (including low income, lack of health insurance, and unwanted pregnancy) interfere with cognitive development and health capital in childhood, reduce educational attainment, and lead to worse labor market and health outcomes in adulthood. These effects are substantial, and they are robust to the inclusion of sibling fixed effects and an extensive set of controls. The results reveal that low birth weight ages you by 12 years, increases the odds of dropping out of high school by one-third, lowers labor force participation by 5 percentage points, and reduces labor market earnings by roughly 15 percent. Not only are socioeconomic factors determinants of poor birth outcomes, but they also influence the lasting impacts of poor infant health when it occurs. In particular, the negative long-run consequences of low birth weight are larger among children whose parents did not have health insurance. While poor birth outcomes reduce human capital accumulation, this consequence explains only 10% of the total effect of low birth weight on labor market earnings. The study also finds that racial differences in adult health can be explained by a few early life factors: birth weight, parental income, and parental health insurance coverage. Finally, the paper sheds light on the well known strong relationship between education and health outcomes; we find that sibling models that account for time-invariant family factors reduce the effects of education on health substantially, but the remaining effects are large. Taken together, the evidence is consistent with a negative reinforcing intergenerational transmission of disadvantage within the family; parental economic status influences birth outcomes, birth outcomes have long reaching effects on health and economic status in adulthood, which in turn leads to poor birth outcomes for oneâ€™s own children.
|Date of creation:||02 Jan 2007|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 2521 Channing Way # 5555, Berkeley, CA 94720-5555|
Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/iir_iirwps/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt71p310w1. 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: (Lisa Schiff)
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.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.