Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development

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Abstract:

There are many possible pathways between parental education, income, and health, and between child health and education, but only some of them have been explored in the literature. This essay focuses on links between parental socioeconomic status (as measured by education, income, occupation, or in some cases area of residence) and child health, and between child health and adult education or income. Specifically, I ask two questions: What is the evidence regarding whether parental socioeconomic status affects child health? And, what is the evidence relating child health to future educational and labor market outcomes? I show that there is now strong evidence of both links, suggesting that health could play a role in the intergenerational transmission of economic status.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/jel.47.1.87

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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