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Health Outcomes and Socio-Economic Status among the Elderly in China: Evidence from the CHARLS Pilot

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Author Info

  • Strauss, John

    ()
    (University of Southern California)

  • Lei, Xiaoyan

    ()
    (Peking University)

  • Park, Albert

    ()
    (Hong Kong University of Science & Technology)

  • Shen, Yan

    ()
    (Peking University)

  • Smith, James P.

    ()
    (RAND)

  • Yang, Zhe

    (Peking University)

  • Zhao, Yaohui

    ()
    (Peking University)

Abstract

We are concerned in this paper with measuring health outcomes among the elderly in Zhejiang and Gansu provinces, China, and examining the relationships between different dimensions of health status and measures of socio-economic status (SES). We use the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) pilot data to document health conditions among the elderly in Gansu and Zhejiang provinces, where the survey was fielded. We use a very rich set of health indicators that include both self-reported measures and biomarkers. We also examine correlations between these health outcomes and two important indicators of socioeconomic status (SES): education and log of per capita expenditure (log pce), our preferred measure of household resources. While there exists a very large literature that examines the relationships between SES and health measures, little has been done on Chinese data to see whether correlations reported in many other countries are replicated in China, particularly so for the aged. In general education tends to be positively correlated with better health outcomes, as it is in other countries. However, unmeasured community influences turn out to be highly important, much more so than one usually finds in other countries. While it is not yet clear which aspects of communities matter and why they matter, we set up an agenda for future research on this topic. We also find a large degree of under-diagnosis of hypertension, a major health problems that afflicts the aged. This implies that the current health system is not well prepared to address the rapid aging of the Chinese population, at least not in Gansu and Zhejiang.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5152.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5152

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Keywords: health; China;

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References

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  1. James P Smith, 2008. "The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 200814, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  2. Friedman, Jed & Thomas, Duncan, 2007. "Psychological health before, during, and after an economic crisis : results from Indonesia, 1993 - 2000," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4386, The World Bank.
  3. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding differences in health behaviors by education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-28, January.
  4. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John, 1997. "Health and wages: Evidence on men and women in urban Brazil," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 159-185, March.
  5. Dana P. Goldman & James P. Smith, 2004. "Can Patient Self-Management Help Explain the SES Health Gradient?," HEW 0403004, EconWPA.
  6. Lance, Peter M. & Akin, John S. & Dow, William H. & Loh, Chung-Ping, 2004. "Is cigarette smoking in poorer nations highly sensitive to price?: Evidence from Russia and China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 173-189, January.
  7. Banks, James & Muriel, Alastair & Smith, James P., 2010. "Disease Prevalence, Disease Incidence, and Mortality in the United States and in England," IZA Discussion Papers 4992, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  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. Don Kenkel & Dean R. Lillard & Feng Liu, 2009. "An analysis of life‐course smoking behavior in China," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S2), pages S147-S156, July.
  10. John J. McArdle & James P. Smith & Robert Willis, 2009. "Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 15266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Adam Wagstaff & Winnie Yip & Magnus Lindelow & William C. Hsiao, 2009. "China's health system and its reform: a review of recent studies," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S2), pages S7-S23, July.
  12. John A. Maluccio & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2009. "The Impact of Improving Nutrition During Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 734-763, 04.
  13. Firman Witoelar & John Strauss, 2009. "Socioeconomic Success and Health in Later Life: Evidence from the Indonesia Family Life Survey," Working Papers 704, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  14. Das, Jishnu & Do, Quy-Toan & Friedman, Jed & McKenzie, David & Scott, Kinnon, 2007. "Mental health and poverty in developing countries: Revisiting the relationship," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 467-480, August.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Results on Health Inequalities from Chinese Aging Study
    by Liam Delaney in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2010-09-10 19:35:00
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Cited by:
  1. Jinkook Lee & Regina A. Shih & Kevin Feeney & Kenneth M. Langa, 2011. "Cognitive Health of Older Indians: Individual and Geographic Determinants of Female Disadvantage," Working Papers 889, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  2. James P. Smith & Yan Shen & John Strauss & Zhe Yang & Yaohui Zhao, 2010. "The Effects of Childhood Health on Adult Health and SES in China," Working Papers 809, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Bonnefond, Céline & Clément, Matthieu, 2014. "Social class and body weight among Chinese urban adults: The role of the middle classes in the nutrition transition," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 22-29.
  4. Xiaoyan Lei & Yuqing Hu & John J. McArdle & James P. Smith & Yaohui Zhao, 2012. "Gender Differences in Cognition among Older Adults in China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 951-971.

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