Cumulative Effects of Job Characteristics on Health
Jason M. Fletcher
Yale University - School of Public Health
Jody L. Sindelar
Yale University - School of Public Health; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
McMaster University - Department of Economics
June 15, 2009
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: Health, Occupational Characteristic
JEL Classification: I10, J28working papers series
Date posted: November 16, 2008 ; Last revised: June 30, 2009
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