Student Research: Income Mobility, Health, and Mortality

Graduate student Sebastian Daza is interested in social complexity, networks, and health. At CDHA, Daza has focused his research on the magnitude and variability of the association between income mobility, health, and mortality in the United States.

Income mobility is a distinct aspect of social stratification, and, according to Daza, improving social mobility is one intervention that may reduce the gap between the rich and poor. Yet, few studies have examined the connection between income mobility and mortality.

As part of his dissertation, Daza analyzed aggregate and individual data to assess the magnitude, robustness, and variability of the effects of income mobility. Building on this evidence, Daza used an agent-based model to assess the conditions and plausibility of the potential mechanisms involved in the association between income mobility and health. Preliminary evidence suggests that income mobility might be a relevant determinant of health and mortality and that the effects of income mobility are stronger than the impact of income inequality.

After completing his graduate work, Daza plans to extend his research by using a longitudinal approach to study income mobility and health. He also hopes to continue working on other research projects—including the Women Re-entry Study (Chile) and Consequences of Incarceration for Mortality with former CDHA director Alberto Palloni—and to use data science techniques to solve social problems.