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Health, Family Structure, and Labor Supply


  • Donald O. Parsons


I consider the health, family structure, and labor supply inter-relationships at both a theoretical and empirical level. The paper is organized in the following way. SectionI introduces the material. In Section II, a theoretical model of family time allocation among market, home, and health activities is developed. The concept of a family health maintenance function is formalized to generate qualitative predictions of the effect of wages, health status, health care efficiency, and property income on the labor supply of husband and wife. In Section III, data from the older male portion of the National Longitudinal Surveys are used to estimate labor supply functions for married and single men with special attention to differences in poor health responses. A simultaneous model of male labor supply and other family income (chiefly transfer income and the earnings of the wife) is then estimated to determine whether variations in the work hours of males, largely due to health differences, induce any substantial changes in income producing activities by other family members. Finally, in Section IV the detailed time budget data on both males and females from the Productive Americans Survey are used to estimate more precisely the effect of health on total family time allocations. These data provide estimates of the impact of poor health on home production time as well as market time for both husband and wife.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald O. Parsons, 1976. "Health, Family Structure, and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 0132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0132

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Benham, Lee, 1974. "Benefits of Women's Education within Marriage," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 57-71, Part II, .
    2. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michele J. Siegel, 2006. "Measuring the effect of husband's health on wife's labor supply," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 579-601.
    2. Melissa Bjelland, 2005. "Are the Lasting Effects of Employee-Employer Separations induced by Layoff and Disability Similar? Exploring Job Displacement using Survey and Administrative Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2005-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Lawrence W. Kenny, 1978. "Male Wage Rates and Marital Status," NBER Working Papers 0271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jeon, Sung-Hee & Pohl, R. Vincent, 2017. "Health and work in the family: Evidence from spouses’ cancer diagnoses," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-18.
    5. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3309-3416 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Tipper, Adam, 2010. "Economic models of the family and the relationship between economic status and health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1567-1573, May.
    7. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1984. "Life-Cycle Effects on Consumption and Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 353-370, July.
    8. Iosifidi, Maria, 2016. "Environmental awareness, consumption, and labor supply: Empirical evidence from household survey data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 1-11.
    9. Ahituv, Avner & Lerman, Robert I., 2005. "How Do Marital Status, Wage Rates, and Work Commitment Interact?," IZA Discussion Papers 1688, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Wilson, Sven E., 2012. "Marriage, gender and obesity in later life," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 431-453.
    11. Veronesi, Marcella, 2007. "Environmental Risk Factors, Health and the Labor Market Response of Married Men and Women in the United States," Working Papers 98552, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

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