Double Penalty: Interaction between Childhood Health and Parental Earnings

Patrick Wightman, University of Michigan
Lucie Kalousova, University of Michigan

Research shows that growing up a in lower socioeconomic position is associated with poor health outcomes in adulthood. Similarly, adult socioeconomic disadvantage has been linked to poor childhood health. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we investigate a possible connection between these literatures, namely the relationship between children’s health and parents’ income. Preliminary analysis indicates that, by itself, missing work to care for another household member is not associated with lower income. However, we find a robust non-linear relationship between the amount of time spent away from work and income. This suggests that parents who miss a significant amount of work may experience income penalties. Our paper presents a theoretical framework for evaluating these relationships and additional analysis will explore the role of family characteristics, for example the number and ages of children, or parents’ ages and education, as well as possible mechanisms, such as job loss.

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Presented in Session 147: The Production of Health Disparities