IZA DP No. 1482: Productive Benefits of Health: Evidence from Low-Income Countries
Various household survey indicators of adult nutrition and health status are analyzed as determinants of individual wages. However, survey indicators of health status may be heterogeneous, or a combination of health human capital formed by investment behavior and variation due to genotype, random shocks, and measurement error, which are uncontrolled by behavior. Although there are no definitive methods for distinguishing between human capital and genetic variation in health outcomes, alternative mappings of health status, such as height, on community health services, parent socioeconomic characteristics, and ethnic categories may be suggestive. Instrumental variable estimates of health human capital and residual sources of variation in measured health status are included in wage functions to assess empirically whether the productivity of both components of health are equal. Evidence from Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Brazil suggest that the health human capital effect on wages is substantially larger than that associated with residual health variation.