The Contribution of Occupation to Health Inequality

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

40 Citations (Scopus)
167 Downloads (Pure)


Health is distributed unequally by occupation. Workers on a lower rung of the occupational ladder report worse health, have a higher probability of disability and die earlier than workers higher up the occupational hierarchy. Using a theoretical framework that unveils some of the potential mechanisms underlying these disparities, three core insights emerge:

(i) there is selection into occupation on the basis of initial wealth, education and health,

(ii) there will be behavioural responses to adverse working conditions, which can have compensating or reinforcing effects on health and

(iii) workplace conditions increase health inequalities if workers with initially low socio-economic status choose harmful occupations and don't offset detrimental health effects.

We provide empirical illustrations of these insights using data for the Netherlands and assess the evidence available in the economics literature.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth and Inequality
EditorsP Rosa Dias, O.A. O'Donnell
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2013

Publication series

SeriesResearch on Economic Inequality

Bibliographical note

JEL classifications: I14 and J24

Research programs

  • EUR ESE 35
  • EMC NIHES-05-63-02 Quality


Dive into the research topics of 'The Contribution of Occupation to Health Inequality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this