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Child health and the income gradient: Evidence from Australia

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  • Khanam, Rasheda
  • Nghiem, Hong Son
  • Connelly, Luke B.

Abstract

The positive relationship between household income and child health is well documented in the child health literature but the precise mechanisms via which income generates better health and whether the income gradient is increasing in child age are not well understood. This paper presents new Australian evidence on the child health-income gradient. We use data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), which involved two waves of data collection for children born between March 2003 and February 2004 (B-Cohort: 0-3 years), and between March 1999 and February 2000 (K-Cohort: 4-7 years). This data set allows us to test the robustness of some of the findings of the influential studies of Case et al. [Case, A., Lubotsky, D., Paxson, C., 2002. Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient. The American Economic Review 92 (5) 1308-1344] and Currie and Stabile [Currie, J., Stabile, M., 2003. Socioeconomic status and child health: why is the relationship stronger for older children. The American Economic Review 93 (5) 1813-1823], and a recent study by Currie et al. [Currie, A., Shields, M.A., Price, S.W., 2007. The child health/family income gradient: evidence from England. Journal of Health Economics 26 (2) 213-232]. The richness of the LSAC data set also allows us to conduct further exploration of the determinants of child health. Our results reveal an increasing income gradient by child age using similar covariates to Case et al. [Case, A., Lubotsky, D., Paxson, C., 2002. Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient. The American Economic Review 92 (5) 1308-1344]. However, the income gradient disappears if we include a rich set of controls. Our results indicate that parental health and, in particular, the mother's health plays a significant role, reducing the income coefficient to zero; suggesting an underlying mechanism that can explain the observed relationship between child health and family income. Overall, our results for Australian children are similar to those produced by Propper et al. [Propper, C., Rigg, J., Burgess, S., 2007. Child health: evidence on the roles of family income and maternal mental health from a UK birth cohort. Health Economics 16 (11) 1245-1269] on their British child cohort.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 805-817

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:4:p:805-817

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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Keywords: Child health Income gradient Parental health Panel data Australia;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Costa-Font, Joan & Gil, Joan, 2013. "Intergenerational and socioeconomic gradients of child obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 29-37.
  2. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00908932 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00794729 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Goeree, Michelle S. & Ham, John C. & Iorio, Daniela, 2011. "Race, Social Class, and Bulimia Nervosa," IZA Discussion Papers 5823, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Nakamura, Sayaka, 2014. "Parental income and child health in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 42-55.
  6. Daniel Kuehnle, 2013. "The causal effect of family income on child health: A re-examination using an instrumental variables approach," Working Papers 133, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  7. Jason Fletcher & Barbara L. Wolfe, 2012. "Increasing Our Understanding of the Health-Income Gradient in Children," NBER Working Papers 18639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Paul Frijters & Luo Chuliang & Xin Meng, 2012. "Child Education and the Family Income Gradient in China," Discussion Papers Series 470, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  9. Bénédicte H. Apouey & Pierre-Yves Geoffard, 2013. "Family income and child health in the UK," PSE Working Papers halshs-00794729, HAL.
  10. Joan Costa-i-Font & Joan Gil, 2013. "Intergenerational and socioeconomic gradients of childhood obesity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 49487, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Bénédicte H. Apouey & Pierre-Yves Geoffard, 2013. "Child health and use of health care services in France: Evidence on the role of family income," PSE Working Papers halshs-00908932, HAL.
  12. Michelle S. Goeree & John C. Ham & Daniela Iorio, 2011. "Race, Social Class, and Bulimia Nervosa," Working Papers 2011-034, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  13. Pinka Chatterji & Kajal Lahiri & Jingya Song, 2011. "The Dynamics of Income-related Health Inequality among US Children," CESifo Working Paper Series 3572, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. Layte, Richard & Nolan, Anne, 2013. "Socioeconomic Inequalities in Child Health in Ireland," Papers WP453, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  16. Barbara Wolfe & Jessica Jakubowski & Robert Haveman & Marissa Courey, 2012. "The Income and Health Effects of Tribal Casino Gaming on American Indians," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 499-524, May.
  17. Shu-Hsi Ho & Wen-Shai Hung, 2013. "A study of the Health of Children Born to Foreign- and Native-Born Mothers in Taiwan," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 355-368, September.

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