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Self-reported health: reliability and consequences for health inequality measurement

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  • Philip M. Clarke
  • Chris Ryan

    (Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis and Research Centre, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Australia)

Abstract

Self-reported health (SRH) is one of the most frequently employed measures for assessing income-related health inequalities between counties. A previous study has shown that 28% of respondents changed their assessment of their health status when asked a SRH question on two occasions in the same survey (first as part of self-completed questionnaire and then in a personal interview). This study re-examines this issue using another survey where SRH was again asked twice of respondents, but this time the personal interview was first and self-completion second. We find the same variation in responses, but the predominant direction is away from the 'extreme' categories 'Excellent' and 'Poor' which is the opposite direction to the previous study. We therefore conclude that the most likely explanation is a mode of administration effect that makes people less likely to choose the extreme categories in a self-completion questionnaire, but not a personal interview. However, this effect has a relatively minor impact on measures of inequality. This is due to a large proportion of the movement (i.e. movement to the middle) not being related to income and hence does not systematically impact on the cumulative distribution of health across this measure of socio-economic status. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2006)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 645-652

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:15:y:2006:i:6:p:645-652

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Kakwani, Nanak & Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1997. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health: Measurement, computation, and statistical inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 87-103, March.
  2. Doorslaer, Eddy van & Jones, Andrew M., 2003. "Inequalities in self-reported health: validation of a new approach to measurement," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 61-87, January.
  3. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Gerdtham, Ulf-G., 2003. "Does inequality in self-assessed health predict inequality in survival by income? Evidence from Swedish data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 57(9), pages 1621-1629, November.
  4. Crossley, Thomas F. & Kennedy, Steven, 2002. "The reliability of self-assessed health status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 643-658, July.
  5. 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, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 93-112, February.
  6. Mark Wooden & Simon Freidin & Nicole Watson, 2002. "The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA)Survey: Wave 1," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(3), pages 339-348.
  7. Eddy van Doorslaer & Xander Koolman, 2004. "Explaining the differences in income-related health inequalities across European countries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 609-628.
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Cited by:
  1. Lahiri, Kajal & Pulungan, Zulkarnain, 2007. "Income-related health disparity and its determinants in New York state: racial/ethnic and geographical comparisons," MPRA Paper 21694, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Kristian Bolin & Daniel Hedblom & Anna Lindgren & Bjorn Lindgren, 2010. "Asymmetric Information and the Demand for Voluntary Health Insurance in Europe," NBER Working Papers 15689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2006. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self-assessed health in the demand for private health insurance, CHERE Working Paper 2006/2," Working Papers, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney 2006/2, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
  4. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2013. "Information and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Cellular Phone Experiment," NBER Working Papers 19113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Liam Delaney & Pat Wall & Fearghal O'hAodha, 2007. "Social Capital & Self-Rated Health in the Republic of Ireland. Evidence from the European Social Survey," Working Papers, Geary Institute, University College Dublin 200707, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  6. Kajal Lahiri & Zulkarnain Pulungan, 2009. "Health Inequality and Its Determinants in New York," Discussion Papers, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics 09-04, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  7. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2008. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self-assessed health in the demand for private health insurance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 317-334.
  8. Alejandro Arrieta & Ariadna García Prado & Giota Panopoulou, 2012. "Enrolling the Self-Employed in Mandatory Health Insurance in Colombia: are we missing other factors?," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 1213, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.

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