Health selection and the process of social stratification: The effect of childhood health on socioeconomic attainment

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Abstract

This study investigates whether childhood health acts as a mechanism through which socioeconomic status is transferred across generations. The study uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to track siblings and to estimate fixed-effects models that account for unobserved heterogeneity at the family level. The results demonstrate that disadvantaged social background is associated with poor childhood health. Subsequently, poor health in childhood has significant, direct, and large adverse effects on educational attainment and wealth accumulation. In addition, childhood health appears to have indirect effects on occupational standing, earnings, and wealth via educational attainment and adult health status. The results further show that socioeconomic health gradients are best understood as being embedded within larger processes of social stratification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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