The ‘Healthy Worker Effect’: Do Healthy People Climb the Occupational Ladder?

61 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2017

See all articles by Joan Costa-Font

Joan Costa-Font

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Martin Ljunge

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Date Written: October 6, 2017

Abstract

The association between occupational status and health has been taken to reveal the presence of health inequalities shaped by occupational status. However, that interpretation assumes no influence of health status in explaining occupational standing. This paper documents evidence of non-negligible returns to occupation status on health (which we refer to as the ‘healthy worker effect’). We use a unique empirical strategy that addressed reverse causality, namely an instrumental variable strategy using the variation in average health in the migrant’s country of origin, a health measure plausibly not determined by the migrant’s occupational status. Our findings suggest that health status exerts significant effects on occupational status in several dimensions; having a supervising role, worker autonomy, and worker influence. The effect size of health is larger than that of an upper secondary education.

Keywords: occupational status; self-reported health; immigrants; work autonomy; supervising role

JEL Classification: J5, I18

Suggested Citation

Costa-Font, Joan and Ljunge, Martin, The ‘Healthy Worker Effect’: Do Healthy People Climb the Occupational Ladder? (October 6, 2017). IFN Working Paper No. 1183. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3048794

Joan Costa-Font

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://joancostaifont.org/

Martin Ljunge (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/martinljunge/

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