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HEALTH and economic mobility

By Jessica Kronstadt and Key Findings

Abstract

health status accounts for a relatively small share of children‘s education attainment and income mobility. • Many studies find a link between good health and positive labor market outcomes (potentially enhancing mobility), but there is little consensus about the magnitude of this connection. • Studies that link catastrophic health care costs to bankruptcy and wealth dissipation, suggest a negative link to intergenerational mobility. • Some studies show that poor health conditions in childhood, especially mental and emotional problems, lead to less education and potentially less economic mobility. There is ample evidence that health and wealth are related, and it is possible that health helps drive—or hinder— economic mobility. (The data suggesting this link are summarized in Table 1.) If there is a causal link between health and income, then negative health shocks could affect intragenerational mobility if ill health precipitates income drops. Also assuming that causal link, it is possible that health could affect intergenerational mobility to the extent that health status is passed on from one generation to another. Health also might affect mobility if economic status helps to determine childhood health and gives some children advantages or disadvantages that may continue later in life. Some of the key links established between socioeconomic status and health are highlighted in the table below. • The causal link between health insurance and health outcomes (possibly leading to more or less economic mobility) is difficult to determine because there may be systematic differences between individuals who have health insurance and those who do not. Link Between SES and Healt

Year: 2011
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