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The Relationship between Pet Ownership and Health Outcomes: German Longitudinal Evidence

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Author Info

  • Bruce Headey
  • Markus M. Grabka

Abstract

Previous cross-sectional and intervention studies have suggested that pet owners may enjoy better physical and mental health than non-owners. This paper presents longitudinal evidence from a major national representative longitudinal survey: the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Because the data are longitudinal, it is possible to assess the impact on health outcomes (measured by number of doctor visits) of longer term pet ownership, and also of gaining and losing a pet. An unexpected finding was that all health benefits appear to accrue to homeowners only. The main result, then, is that homeowners who have owned a pet for five years or more make significantly fewer doctor visits than non pet owners. However, losing a pet appears to impose immediate health costs. The results hold after controlling for other variables associated with use of health services, and also for health status at baseline. They still hold when a proxy for unobserved heterogeneity is included in equations.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.42336.de/dp434.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 434.

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Length: 17 p.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp434

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Related research

Keywords: Pets; Health; Homeowners; Longitudinal; Poisson regression;

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References

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  1. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2001. "Health Care Reform and the Number of Doctor Visits - An Econometric Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 3021, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Johannes Schwarze & Hanfried H. Andersen & Silke Anger, 2000. "Self-Rated Health and Changes in Self-Rated Health as Predictors of Mortality: First Evidence from German Panel Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 203, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Bruce Headey, 1999. "Health Benefits and Health Cost Savings Due to Pets: Preliminary Estimates from an Australian National Survey," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 233-243, June.
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