The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Labor Market Outcomes

by James P. Smith

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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, it is found 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.

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