Based on data from the 1990 early release file of the Latino sample of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), this article examines the loss of earnings suffered by disabled or health-limited Hispanic women workers. For comparative purposes, the author created an identical analysis based on a sample of black and white non-Hispanic women from the 1989 original-sample PSID. The research also considers the prevalence of poor health among Latinas to ascertain whether their lower labor-force participation, earnings, and number of hours worked can be associated with episodes of poor health. The empirical results show that Hispanic women are more likely to report health limitations than non-Hispanic women. After controlling for other factors that might affect labor-supply behavior, the findings indicate that health problems negatively affect labor force participation, the market wage offer, and the number of hours that both Hispanic and non-Hispanic women are able to supply. Hispanic women with health problems were more likely to work in comparison with a similar group of non-Hispanic women, so the prevalence of poor health among the Hispanic sample is not useful in explaining their relatively lower participation rates. Nor does it seem that the lower earnings and hours worked by Latinas in poor health are the major cause for the greater frequency of poverty-level earnings among this sample. In fact, the causality may work in reverse: poverty increases the probability of being in poor health.
Figueroa, Janis Barry
"The Health Status and Lost Earnings of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Women,"
New England Journal of Public Policy: Vol. 11
, Article 12.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umb.edu/nejpp/vol11/iss2/12