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Content loaded within last 14 days Effect of Self-rated Health on Changes in Social Mobility over Time

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Objective: In this paper, we examine how self-rated health effects contribute to changes in social mobility over time. Methods: Over time changes in perceived social mobility are defined as (1) changes from 4 years ago to the present, and (2) changes from the present to 4 years in the future. A set of instrumental variable regressions is estimated to address the problems of reverse causality, omitted unobserved confounding variables, and measurement error. Results: Findings suggest that higher levels of self-rated health increase upward mobility. A one-unit increase in self-rated health leads to an increase in perceived social mobility from the past to the present by a factor of 0.368. Likewise, a one-unit increase in self-rated health leads to an increase in the expected perceived social mobility by a factor of 0.709. The results are robust for an alternative set of explanatory factors including country-level aggregated characteristics. Conclusions: Policymakers and health administrators should not ignore the effect of poor health as a significant obstacle to mobility. From the research viewpoint, classic single-stage regression models may underestimate the true magnitude of the health effect on over time changes in social mobility. Our findings also contribute to the literature on the Prospect of Upward Mobility (POUM) hypothesis by showing that health status is a strong determinant of upward mobility.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Social Work, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada 2: Department of Mathematics, Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada 3: School of Social Work, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2024

This article was made available online on May 29, 2024 as a Fast Track article with title: "Effect of Self-rated Health on Changes in Social Mobility over Time".

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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