Cumulative Effects of Job Characteristics on Health

30 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009 Last revised: 30 Jul 2009

See all articles by Jason M. Fletcher

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; Yale University - School of Public Health

Jody L. Sindelar

Yale University - School of Public Health; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Shintaro Yamaguchi

University of Tokyo - Graduate School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2009

Abstract

We examine whether the 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 biologic and physiologic literature that indicate that cumulative exposure to hazards and stresses harms health. To create our analytic sample, we merge job characteristics from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles with the Panel Study of Income Dynamics dataset. We control for early and lagged health measures and a set of pre-determined characteristics to address concerns that individuals self-select into jobs. Our results indicate that individuals who work in jobs with the 'worst' conditions experience declines in their health, though 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. We also find evidence that job characteristics are more detrimental to the health of females and older workers. Finally, we report suggestive evidence that earned income, another job characteristic, partially cushions the health impact of physical demands and harsh environmental conditions for workers. These results are robust to inclusion of occupation fixed effects.

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Jason M. and Sindelar, Jody L. and Yamaguchi, Shintaro, Cumulative Effects of Job Characteristics on Health (June 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15121. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1426757

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Jody L. Sindelar (Contact Author)

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States
203-785-5287 (Phone)
203-785-6287 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Shintaro Yamaguchi

University of Tokyo - Graduate School of Economics ( email )

Tokyo
Japan

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