True Health vs. Response Styles: Exploring Cross-country Differences in Self-reported Health
AbstractThe aim of this paper is to decompose cross-national differences in self-reported general health into parts explained by differences in "true" health, measured by diagnosed conditions and measurements, and parts explained by cross-cultural differences in response styles. The data used were drawn from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe 2004 (SHARE), using information from 22,000 individuals aged 50 and over from 10 European countries. Self-rated general health shows large cross-country variations. According to their self-reports, the healthiest respondents live in the Scandinavian countries and the least healthy live in Southern Europe. Counterfactual self-reported health distributions that assume identical response styles in each country show much less variation in self-reports than factual selfreports. Danish and Swedish respondents tend to largely over-rate their health (relative to the average) whereas Germans tend to under-rate their health. If differences in reporting styles are taken into account, cross-country variations in general health are reduced but not eliminated. Failing to account for differences in reporting styles may yield misleading results.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 588.
Length: 29 p.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Self-assessed health; response bias; cross-national study;
Other versions of this item:
- Hendrik Jürges, 2007. "True health vs response styles: exploring cross-country differences in self-reported health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 163-178.
- Hendrik Jürges, 2006. "True health vs. response styles: Exploring cross-country differences in self-reported health," MEA discussion paper series 06105, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
- C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-06-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-EEC-2006-06-17 (European Economics)
- NEP-HEA-2006-06-17 (Health Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2006-06-17 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
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