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Cumulative Effects of Job Characteristics on Health

  • Jason M. Fletcher
  • Jody L. Sindelar
  • Shintaro Yamaguchi

We present what we believe are the best estimates of how job characteristics of physical demands and environmental conditions affect individual’s health. Five-year cumulative measures of these job characteristics are used to reflect findings in the physiologic literature that cumulative exposure is most relevant for the impact of hazards and stresses on health. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics we find that individuals who work in jobs with the ‘worst’ conditions experience declines in their health, although this effect varies by demographic group. For example, for non-white men, a one standard deviation increase in cumulative physical demands decreases health by an amount that offsets an increase of two years of schooling or four years of aging. Job characteristics are found more detrimental to the health of females and older workers. These results are robust to inclusion of occupation fixed effects, health early in life and lagged health.

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File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/rsrch/papers/archive/2008-05.pdf
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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2008-05.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2008-05
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  1. Miles S. Kimball & Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2009. "Risk Preferences in the PSID: Individual Imputations and Family Covariation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 363-68, May.
  2. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  3. Joseph P. Ferrie, 2001. "The Poor and the Dead: Socioeconomic Status and Mortality in the U.S., 1850-1860," NBER Historical Working Papers 0135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jody L. Sindelar & Jason Fletcher & Tracy Falba & Patricia Keenan & William T. Gallo, 2007. "Impact of First Occupation on Health at Older Ages," NBER Working Papers 13715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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