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Unravelling the SES health connection

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  • James P. Smith

Abstract

This paper looks at the links between health and socio-economic status. It is generally assumed by non-economists that it is low SES that causes ill health, but this paper asks whether the causation might also work the other way. Even if the direction of causation is that SES mainly affects health, what dimensions of SES actually matter — the financial aspects such as income or wealth or nonfinancial dimensions like education? Finally, is there a life course component to the health gradient so that we may be misled in trying to answer these questions by only looking at people of a certain age — say those past 50. This paper provides my answers to these questions.

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File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0402.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W04/02.

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Length: 38 pp
Date of creation: Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:04/02

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Keywords: Health; socio-economic status; causation;

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References

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  1. James P. Smith, 2004. "Why is Wealth Inequality Rising?," Macroeconomics 0402012, EconWPA.
  2. James P. Smith & Raynard Kington, 2004. "Demographic and Economic Correlates of Health in Old Age," Labor and Demography 0408008, EconWPA.
  3. 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.
  4. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 2004. "Broken down by work and sex: how our health declines," Working Papers 257, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  5. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
  6. Dana P. Goldman & James P. Smith, 2004. "Can Patient Self-Management Help Explain the SES Health Gradient?," HEW 0403004, EconWPA.
  7. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient," Working Papers 262, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  8. James P. Smith, 2003. "Consequences and Predictors of New Health Events," NBER Working Papers 10063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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