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The Wear and Tear on Health: What Is the Role of Occupation?

SOEPpapers 618, 31 S.

Bastian Ravesteijn, Hans van Kippersluis, Eddy van Doorslaer


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Although it seems evident that occupations affect health, effect estimates are scarce. We use a job characteristics matrix linked to German longitudinal data spanning 26 years to characterize occupations by their physical and psychosocial burdens. Employing a dynamic model to control for factors that simultaneously affect health and selection into occupations, we find that manual work and low job control both have a substantial negative effect on health that increases with age. The effects of late career exposure to high physical demands and low job control are comparable to a health deterioration due to aging 12 and 19 months, respectively.