Working Paper Series
Joan Costa Font
The ‘Healthy Worker Effect’: Do Healthy People Climb the Occupational Ladder?
() and Martin Ljunge
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; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: I18; J50; (follow links to similar papers)
60 pages, October 6, 2017
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