The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Labor Market Outcomes

35 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2006

See all articles by James P. Smith

James P. Smith

RAND Corporation; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2005


This paper examines the impact of childhood health on a series of SES outcomes observed during adulthood. These outcomes include levels and trajectories of education, family income, household wealth, individual earnings and labor supply. The analysis is conducted using unique data that collects these SES measures starting with a panel who were originally children and who are now well into their adult years. Since all siblings are also included in the panel, one is able to control for all unmeasured family and neighborhood background effects. With the exception of education, I find that the poor childhood health has a quantitatively large effect on all these outcomes. Moreover, these estimated effects are much larger when unobserved family effects are controlled.

Keywords: social status-health aspects, education-health aspects, health status indicators, outcome assessment (medical care)

JEL Classification: I10, J00

Suggested Citation

Smith, James P., The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Labor Market Outcomes (August 2005). RAND Working Paper No. WR-319, Available at SSRN: or

James P. Smith (Contact Author)

RAND Corporation ( email )

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Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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