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Socioeconomic differences in health over the life cycle in an Egalitarian country

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  • van Kippersluis, Hans
  • O'Donnell, Owen
  • van Doorslaer, Eddy
  • Van Ourti, Tom

Abstract

A strong cross-sectional relationship between health and socioeconomic status is firmly established. This paper adopts a life cycle perspective to investigate whether the socioeconomically disadvantaged, on top of a lower health level, experience a sharper deterioration of health over time. Data are drawn from the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) Health Interview Surveys covering the period 1983-2000. The analysis focuses on the self-rated health and disability of persons aged 16-80. We show that in the Netherlands, as in the US, the socioeconomic gradient in health widens until late-middle age and narrows thereafter. The analysis and the available evidence suggests that the widening gradient is attributable both to health-related withdrawal from the labor force, resulting in lower incomes, and the cumulative protective effect of education on health outcomes. The less educated appear to suffer a double health penalty in that they begin adult life with a slightly lower health level, which subsequently declines at a faster rate.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 70 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (February)
Pages: 428-438

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:70:y:2010:i:3:p:428-438

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Keywords: Socioeconomic status Life cycle Age Labor Education Self-rated health (SRH) Disability;

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References

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  1. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
  2. Anne Case & Angus S. Deaton, 2005. "Broken Down by Work and Sex: How Our Health Declines," NBER Chapters, in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 185-212 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," NBER Working Papers 8344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Silles, Mary A., 2009. "The causal effect of education on health: Evidence from the United Kingdom," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 122-128, February.
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  6. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & Bleichrodt, Han & Calonge, Samuel & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna & Hakkinen, Unto & Leu, Robert E., 1997. "Income-related inequalities in health: some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 93-112, February.
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  15. Hans van Kippersluis & Tom van Ourti & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2008. "Health and Income across the Life Cycle and Generations in Europe," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-009/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  16. Paul Contoyannis & Andrew M. Jones & Nigel Rice, 2004. "The dynamics of health in the British Household Panel Survey," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 473-503.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ovrum, Arnstein & Rickertsen, Kyrre, 2011. "Inequality in Health Versus Inequality in Lifestyles," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114556, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Nordin , Martin & Gerdtham , Ulf-G, 2010. "Why a positive link between age and income-related health inequality?," Working Papers 2010:12, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  3. Titus Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2010. "A Theory of Socioeconomic Disparities in Health Over the Life Cycle," Working Papers 773, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  4. Titus J. Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2013. "Health Inequalities through the Lens of Health Capital Theory: Issues, Solutions, and Future Directions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-076/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Pilar García-Gómez & Hans-Martin Gaudecker & Maarten Lindeboom, 2011. "Health, disability and work: patterns for the working age population," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 146-165, April.
  6. Knoef, M.G., 2011. "Essays on labor force participation, aging, income and health," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4807622, Tilburg University.
  7. Titus J. Galama & Arie Kapteyn, 2009. "Grossman's Missing Health Threshold," Working Papers 684, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  8. Guillem López i Casasnovas & Marina Soley Bori, 2012. "The Economic Crisis and it Effects on the Social Determinants of Health," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 201(2), pages 113-132, June.
  9. Baeten, Steef & Van Ourti, Tom & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2013. "The socioeconomic health gradient across the life cycle: What role for selective mortality and institutionalization?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 66-74.

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