Occupational Status and Health Transitions
George Washington University - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Christopher J. Ruhm
University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro
February 1, 2011
IZA Discussion Paper No. 5482
We use longitudinal data from the 1984 through 2007 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine how occupational status is related to the health transitions of 30 to 59 year-old U.S. males. A recent history of blue-collar employment predicts a substantial increase in the probability of transitioning from very good into bad self-assessed health, relative to white-collar employment, but with no evidence of occupational differences in movements from bad to very good health. These findings are robust to a series of sensitivity analyses. The results suggest that blue-collar workers "wear out" faster with age because they are more likely, than their white-collar counterparts, to experience negative health shocks. This partly reflects differences in the physical demands of blue-collar and white-collar jobs.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: occupations, physical demands, health
JEL Classification: I12, J24working papers series
Date posted: February 21, 2011
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