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Income, income inequality, and health: Evidence from China

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  • Li, Hongbin
  • Zhu, Yi

Abstract

This paper tests using survey data from China whether individual health is associated with income and community-level income inequality. Although poor health and high inequality are key features of many developing countries, most of the earlier literature has drawn on data from developed countries in studying the association between the two. We find that self-reported health status increases with per capita income, but at a decreasing rate. Controlling for per capita income, we find an inverted-U association between self-reported health status and income inequality, which suggests that high inequality in a community poses threats to health. We also find that high inequality increases the probability of health-compromising behavior such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Most of our findings are robust to different measures of health status and income inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 34 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 668-693

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:34:y:2006:i:4:p:668-693

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Chen, Xi, 2013. "Relative Deprivation in China," MPRA Paper 48582, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2012. "Costly posturing: relative status, ceremonies and early child development in China:," IFPRI discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 1206, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Adjaye-Gbewonyo, Kafui & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2012. "Use of the Yitzhaki Index as a test of relative deprivation for health outcomes: A review of recent literature," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 129-137.
  4. Kossova Tatiana & Kossova Elena & Sukhodoev Vladimir, 2012. "Revealing Macroeconomic Determinants of Alcohol Abuse and its Influence on Life Expectancy in Russia," HSE Working papers, National Research University Higher School of Economics WP BRP 14/EC/2012, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  5. Leonardo Becchetti & Giuseppina Gianfreda, 2008. "When consumption heals producers: the effect of fair trade on marginalised producers’ health and productivity," Working Papers, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality 86, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  6. World Bank, 2008. "Thailand Social Monitor on Youth : Development and the Next Generation," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8036, The World Bank.
  7. Xiao Luo & Chor-Ching Goh & Nong Zhu, 2014. "Income Growth, Inequality and Poverty Reduction: A Case Study of Eight Provinces in China," CIRANO Working Papers, CIRANO 2014s-03, CIRANO.
  8. Modrek, Sepideh & Dow, William H. & Rosero-Bixby, Luis, 2012. "Long-term association of economic inequality and mortality in adult Costa Ricans," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 158-166.
  9. Marcos Chamon & Kai Liu & Eswar S. Prasad, 2010. "Income Uncertainty and Household Savings in China," NBER Working Papers 16565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Chen, Zhuo & Gotway Crawford, Carol A., 2012. "The role of geographic scale in testing the income inequality hypothesis as an explanation of health disparities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 75(6), pages 1022-1031.
  11. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers, Tinbergen Institute 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  12. Sun, Ping & Unger, Jennifer B. & Palmer, Paula & Ma, Huiyan & Xie, Bin & Sussman, Steve & Johnson, C. Anderson, 2012. "Relative income inequality and selected health outcomes in urban Chinese youth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 84-91.
  13. Ming Lu & Hong Gao, 2010. "When Globalization Meets Urbanization: Labor Market Reform, Income Inequality, and Economic Growth in the People’s Republic of China," Working Papers id:3095, eSocialSciences.
  14. Luo, Xubei & Zhu, Nong, 2008. "Rising income inequality in China : a race to the top," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 4700, The World Bank.
  15. Feng, Zhixin & Wang, Wenfei Winnie & Jones, Kelvyn & Li, Yaqing, 2012. "An exploratory multilevel analysis of income, income inequality and self-rated health of the elderly in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2481-2492.
  16. Yeatts, Dale E. & Pei, Xiaomei & Cready, Cynthia M. & Shen, Yuying & Luo, Hao & Tan, Junxin, 2013. "Village characteristics and health of rural Chinese older adults: Examining the CHARLS Pilot Study of a rich and poor province," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 71-78.
  17. Jin, Ye & Li, Hongbin & Wu, Binzhen, 2011. "Income inequality, consumption, and social-status seeking," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 191-204, June.
  18. GOH, Chor-ching & LUO, Xubei & ZHU, Nong, 2009. "Income growth, inequality and poverty reduction: A case study of eight provinces in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 485-496, September.

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