The Long Reach of Childhood Health and Circumstance: Evidence from the Whitehall II Study

August 2011
With Christina Paxson; The Economic Journal, Vol. 121, Issue 554

We use data from the Whitehall II Study to examine the joint evolution of health status and economic status over the life course. We study the links between health and socioeconomic status in childhood and health and employment status at older ages. We find early life socioeconomic status is significantly associated with health over the life course, even though selection into Whitehall mutes the effects of childhood. In addition, we find that current position in the Civil Service is not associated with future self-assessed health, but current self-assessed health is significantly associated with promotion in the Civil Service.