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Socioeconomic Status and Sickness Absence - What do twins tell us about causality?


  • Nilsson, William

    () (Department of Economics, Umeå University)


The purpose of this study is to empirically investigate causal effects between socioeconomic status and absence from the workplace due to sickness. To be able to conclude that income causally affects health it is important to control for both reverse causality and unobserved heterogeneity. This study uses a Swedish sample of female twins and a semiparametric censored fixed-effects model. Spousal income is correlated in cross-section with the share of total income that comes from benefits due to sickness absence. Results from this twin study indicate that male spousal income, i.e. a non-shared environmental influence, does not have a causal effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Nilsson, William, 2006. "Socioeconomic Status and Sickness Absence - What do twins tell us about causality?," Umeå Economic Studies 670, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0670

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Neumark, David, 1999. "Biases in twin estimates of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 143-148, April.
    2. Michaud, Pierre-Carl & van Soest, Arthur, 2008. "Health and wealth of elderly couples: Causality tests using dynamic panel data models," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1312-1325, September.
    3. Honore, Bo E, 1992. "Trimmed LAD and Least Squares Estimation of Truncated and Censored Regression Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 533-565, May.
    4. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
    5. Buckley, Neil J. & Denton, Frank T. & Leslie Robb, A. & Spencer, Byron G., 2004. "The transition from good to poor health: an econometric study of the older population," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 1013-1034, September.
    6. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters,in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
    8. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    9. Mikael Lindahl, 2005. "Estimating the Effect of Income on Health and Mortality Using Lottery Prizes as an Exogenous Source of Variation in Income," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
    10. M. Christopher Auld & Nirmal Sidhu, 2005. "Schooling, cognitive ability and health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(10), pages 1019-1034.
    11. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
    12. Frijters, Paul & Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Shields, Michael A., 2005. "The causal effect of income on health: Evidence from German reunification," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 997-1017, September.
    13. repec:ran:wpaper:191 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Fuchs, Victor R., 2004. "Reflections on the socio-economic correlates of health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 653-661, July.
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    More about this item


    Income; education; health; causality; twins;

    JEL classification:

    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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