Empirical essays in health and human capital

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gary Brant Morefield (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
David Ribar

Abstract: This dissertation studies two dynamic processes, the production of human capital and evolution of health. The first essay uses data on parents and their children in the longitudinal Panel Study of Income Dynamics and PSID-Child Development Supplement to estimate the effect negative changes in parental health on the children's development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills. The analysis suggests that the onset of a parental health event, on average, does not affect children's cognitive measures and has small negative effects on the level of children's noncognitive skills. However, small average effects mask heterogeneous effects across: the sex of the parent, sex of the child, and the type of health condition. Parental health events are found to significantly impair noncognitive skill development when a father is afflicted with a health event, affect sons more negatively than daughters, and are worse for certain--vascular or cancerous--conditions. Further exploration shows that effects of parental health events on skill development are related to changes in the hypothesized mechanism, changes in skill investments. Specifically, when parental health events are estimated to create the poorest behavior outcomes, large reductions in one measure of skill investment, time that parents participate in activities with children, is also commonly found. The second essay (joint with David Ribar and Christopher Ruhm) uses longitudinal data from the 1984 through 2007 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine how occupational status is related to the health transitions of 30 to 59 year-old U.S. males. A recent history of blue-collar employment predicts a substantial increase in the probability of transitioning from very good into bad self-assessed health, relative to white-collar employment, but with no evidence of occupational differences in movements from bad to very good health. These findings are robust to a series of sensitivity analyses. The results suggest that blue-collar workers "wear out" faster with age because they are more likely, than their white-collar counterparts, to experience negative health shocks. This partly reflects differences in the physical demands of blue-collar and white-collar jobs. The third essay (joint with Jeremy Bray) uses the framework of Bray (2005) to develop a theoretical and accompanying empirical model examining how the productivities of the human capital inputs work and school are affected if individuals work while enrolled in school. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, we model the dynamic processes of work and school input decisions jointly with the effects of these decisions on future wages to discern whether work and school are contemporaneous complements or substitutes in the production of human capital. Endogeneity is corrected through the use of the Discrete Factor Method. The model shows that, on average, work and school are indeed complementary in the production of human capital. However, examination of in-school work at differing schooling levels or across different student occupations shows that certain types of work and school are complementary when simultaneously undertaken while others are substitutes in the production of human capital.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2011
Keywords
Human capital, Health, Parental health events
Subjects
Parent and child $z United States
Families $x Health and hygiene $z United States
Human capital $z United States