The Effects of Childhood Health on Young Adult Education

Narayan Sastry, University of Michigan
Robert Bozick, RAND Corporation

This paper investigates the relationship between poor health in childhood and educational attainment in young adulthood. This relationship is important for understanding the reciprocal relationship between socioeconomic status and health. In particular, a better understanding of the effects of childhood health on educational attainment will help reveal how and why health disparities by SES emerge and about how SES and health status are transmitted across generations. We use new data from the PSID Child Development Supplement and the PSID Transition into Adulthood study to examine how childhood health trajectories, from birth through childhood and adolescence, affect high school graduation and college attendance. We find statistically significant, but substantively relatively modest, effects on educational attainment of several dimensions of child health, including mother's rating of child health, asthma, and externalizing behaviors.

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Presented in Session 196: Transition to Adulthood