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A Bayesian Analysis of Sibling Correlations in Health

Author

Listed:
  • Timothy Halliday

    () (University of Hawaii at Manoa and UH Economic Research Organization)

  • Bhashkar Mazumder

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

Abstract

We estimate sibling correlations in health status using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We use Bayesian methods to estimate the covariance structure of a system of latent variable equations. Across a battery of outcomes, we estimate that between 50% and 60% of health status can be attributed to familial or neighborhood characteristics. Taking the principal component across all outcomes, we obtain a slightly lower sibling correlation of about 45%. 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. Therefore, efforts to improve the circumstances of families and communities may potentially lead to improved childhood health today and also reduce future health disparities.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Halliday & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2014. "A Bayesian Analysis of Sibling Correlations in Health," Working Papers 201426, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201426
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    File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_14-26.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2014
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus, 2012. "How important is family background for labor-economic outcomes?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 465-474.
    2. 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 - German National Library of Economics, pages 69-89.
    3. 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.
    4. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    5. 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. repec:eee:jhecon:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sibling correlations; Intergenerational mobility; Health;

    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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