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Socioeconomic Status and Health: Dimensions and Mechanisms

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Adriana Lleras-Muney
  • Tom Vogl

Abstract

This paper reviews the evidence on the well-known positive association between socioeconomic status and health. We focus on four dimensions of socioeconomic status -- education, financial resources, rank, and race and ethnicity -- paying particular attention to how the mechanisms linking health to each of these dimensions diverge and coincide. The extent to which socioeconomic advantage causes good health varies, both across these four dimensions and across the phases of the lifecycle. Circumstances in early life play a crucial role in determining the co-evolution of socioeconomic status and health throughout adulthood. In adulthood, a considerable part of the association runs from health to socioeconomic status, at least in the case of wealth. The diversity of pathways casts doubt upon theories that treat socioeconomic status as a unified concept.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14333.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14333

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Cited by:
  1. Bastian Ravesteijn & Hans van Kippersluis & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2013. "The Wear and Tear on Health: What is the Role of Occupation?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-143/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Christoph Schwierz & Ansgar Wübker, 2009. "Determinants of Avoidable Deaths from Ischaemic Heart Diseases in East and West Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 0119, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  3. Brunello, Giorgio & Fort, Margherita & Schneeweis, Nicole & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8707, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Anderberg, Dan & Chevalier, Arnaud & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2008. "Anatomy of a Health Scare: Education, Income and the MMR Controversy in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 3590, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Ravesteijn, Bastian & van Kippersluis, Hans & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2013. "The Wear and Tear on Health: What is the Role of Occupation?," MPRA Paper 50321, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Elisabetta Santarelli & Anna De Pascale, . "Economic, housing conditions and health of old people in Italy: evidence from EU-SILC," Working Papers 99/12, Sapienza University of Rome, Metodi e modelli per l'economia, il territorio e la finanza MEMOTEF.
  7. Costa-Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Jiménez-Rubio, Dolores, 2014. "Income inequalities in unhealthy life styles in England and Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 66-75.
  8. Koch, Daniel, 2011. "Waaler revisited: The anthropometrics of mortality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 106-117, January.
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  10. Ayala, Luis & Rodríguez, Magdalena, 2013. "Health-related effects of welfare-to-work policies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 103-112.
  11. Leen Sebrechts & Jef Breda, 2012. "Families of children with special needs in Flanders: their vulnerability within the citizenship paradigm," Working Papers 1201, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  12. Jones, Carol Adaire & Parker, Timothy S. & Ahearn, Mary Clare & Mishra, Ashok K. & Variyam, Jayachandran N., 2009. "Health Status and Health Care Access of Farm and Rural Populations," Economic Information Bulletin 54430, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  13. Anthony Webb & Natalia Zhivan, 2010. "How Much Is Enough? The Distribution of Lifetime Health Care Costs," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2010-1, Center for Retirement Research, revised Feb 2010.
  14. Driouchi, Ahmed & Boboc, Cristina & Zouag, Nada, 2009. "Interdependencies of Health, Education and Poverty: The Case of South Mediterranean Economies/Interdependencias de salud, educación y pobreza: el caso de las Economías Sur-Mediterráneas," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 27, pages 523-544, Agosto.
  15. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Lundborg, Petter & Lyttkens, Carl Hampus & Nystedt, Paul, 2012. "Do Socioeconomic Factors Really Explain Income-Related Inequalities in Health? Applying a Twin Design to Standard Decomposition Analysis," Working Papers 2012:21, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  16. Boboc, Cristina & Driouchi, Ahmed & Titan, Emilia, 2010. "Interrelations between Education, Health, Income and Economic Development in Europe with Emphasis on New Members of European Union," MPRA Paper 22235, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Apr 2010.
  17. Robert J. Gordon, 2009. "Misperceptions About the Magnitude and Timing of Changes in American Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 15351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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