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The impact of low income on child health: evidence from a birth cohort study

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  • Simon Burgess
  • Carol Propper
  • John A. Rigg

Abstract

There is a growing literature that shows that higher family income is associated with better health for children. Wealthier parents may have more advantaged children because they have more income to buy health care or because parental wealth is associated with beneficial behaviours or because parental health is associated with both income and children¿s health. The policy implications of these transmission mechanisms are quite different. We attempt to unpick the correlation between income and health by examining routes by which parental disadvantage is transmitted into child disadvantage. Using a UK cohort study that has rich information on mother¿s early life events, her health, her behaviours that may affect child health, and her child¿s health, we examine the impact of being in low income compared to that of mother child health related behaviours and mother¿s own health on child health. We find children from poorer households have poorer health. But we find the direct impact of income is small. A larger role is played by mother¿s own health and events in her early life. No clear role is played by mother child health production behaviours. Written with ALSPAC study team.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/6305/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 6305.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6305

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Keywords: child health; income; maternal health; tranmission mechanisms;

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References

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  1. Adda, Jerome & Chandola, Tarani & Marmot, Michael, 2003. "Socio-economic status and health: causality and pathways," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 57-63, January.
  2. Burgess, Simon & Gregg, Paul & Propper, Carol & Washbrook, Elizabeth, 2008. "Maternity rights and mothers' return to work," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 168-201, April.
  3. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Working Paper Series WP-02-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & van der Burg, Hattem & Christiansen, Terkel & De Graeve, Diana & Duchesne, Inge & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna, 2000. "Equity in the delivery of health care in Europe and the US," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 553-583, September.
  5. West, Patrick, 1997. "Health inequalities in the early years: Is there equalisation in youth?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 833-858, March.
  6. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
  7. 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.
  8. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  9. Janet Currie & Rosemary Hyson, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," NBER Working Papers 6999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marmot, Michael G. & Nazroo, James Y., 2001. "Social inequalities in health in an ageing population," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 445-460, October.
  11. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2002. "Socioeconomic Status and Health: Why is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," NBER Working Papers 9098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook, 2003. "The Effects of Early Maternal Employment on Child Development in the UK," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/070, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  13. 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.
  14. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & John A. Rigg, 2005. "Health Supplier Quality and the Distribution of Child Health," CASE Papers 102, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  2. Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A. & Price, Stephen Wheatley & Williams, Jenny, 2006. "Quantifying the Cost of Passive Smoking on Child Health: Evidence from Children’s Cotinine Samples," IZA Discussion Papers 2219, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Carol Propper & John Rigg & Simon Burgess, 2007. "Child health: evidence on the roles of family income and maternal mental health from a UK birth cohort," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(11), pages 1245-1269.
  4. Pedro Rosa Dias, 2009. "Inequality of opportunity in health: evidence from a UK cohort study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(9), pages 1057-1074.
  5. Currie, Alison & Shields, Michael A. & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 2007. "The child health/family income gradient: Evidence from England," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 213-232, March.

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