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Estimating Causal Effects of Early Occupational Choice on Later Health: Evidence Using the PSID

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  • Jason M. Fletcher
  • Jody L. Sindelar

Abstract

In this paper, we provide some of the first empirical evidence of whether early occupational choices are associated with lasting effects on health status, affecting individuals as they age. We take advantage of data on occupational histories available in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to examine this issue. To the PSID data, we merge historical Census data that reflect the labor market conditions when each individual in the PSID made his first occupational choice. These data on labor market conditions (e.g. state-level share of blue collar workers) allow us to instrument for occupational choice in order to alleviate endogeneity bias. We use parental occupation as additional instruments. Since our instruments may have indirect effects on later health, we also control for respondent's pre-labor market health, education and several family and state background characteristics in order to make the instruments more plausibly excludable. We find substantial evidence that a blue collar occupation at labor force entry is associated with decrements to later health status, ceteris paribus. These health effects are larger after controlling for endogeneity and are similar across sets of instruments. We also find differences in the effects of occupation by gender, race, and age.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason M. Fletcher & Jody L. Sindelar, 2009. "Estimating Causal Effects of Early Occupational Choice on Later Health: Evidence Using the PSID," NBER Working Papers 15256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15256
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Costa-Font, Joan & Ljunge, Martin, 2018. "The ‘healthy worker effect’: Do healthy people climb the occupational ladder?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 119-131.
    2. Rhys Davies & Melanie Jones & Huw Lloyd-Williams, 2016. "Age and Work-Related Health: Insights from the UK Labour Force Survey," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 54(1), pages 136-159, March.
    3. Jason Fletcher, 2012. "The Effects of First Occupation on Long Term Health Status: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 49-75, March.
    4. Inas Kelly & Dhaval Dave & Jody Sindelar & William Gallo, 2014. "The impact of early occupational choice on health behaviors," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 737-770, December.
    5. Bastian Ravesteijn & Hans van Kippersluis & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2013. "The Wear and Tear on Health: What Is the Role of Occupation?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 618, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Jürges, Hendrik, 2012. "Collateral damage: Educational attainment and labor market outcomes among German war and post-war cohorts," MEA discussion paper series 201202, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    7. Jürges, Hendrik, 2013. "Collateral damage: The German food crisis, educational attainment and labor market outcomes of German post-war cohorts," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 286-303.
    8. Morefield Brant & Ribar David C. & Ruhm Christopher J., 2012. "Occupational Status and Health Transitions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-29, March.
    9. Sara Rellstab & Marco Pecoraro & Alberto Holly & Philippe Wanner & Karine Renard, 2016. "The Migrant Health Gap and the Role of Labour Market Status: Evidence from Switzerland," IRENE Working Papers 16-14, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    10. Giuntella, Osea & Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2015. "Do immigrants improve the health of natives?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 140-153.
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    12. Kajitani, Shinya, 2015. "Which is worse for your long-term health, a white-collar or a blue-collar job?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 228-243.
    13. Shintaro Yamaguchi, 2013. "Changes in Returns to Task-Specific Skills and Gender Wage Gap," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd12-275, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    14. Osea Giuntella, 2014. "Immigration and Job Disamenities," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(2), pages 20-26, 07.
    15. Lewandowski, Piotr & Keister, Roma & Hardy, Wojciech & Górka, Szymon, 2017. "Routine and Ageing? The Intergenerational Divide in the Deroutinisation of Jobs in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 10732, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Giulio Bosio & Chiara Noè, 2011. "Higher Education Expansion, Human Capital Externalities and Wages: Italian Evidence within Occupation," Working Papers 39, AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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