Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Why is Health Related to Socioeconomic Status?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Ellen Meara
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    There are striking disparities in morbidity and mortality by socioeconomic status (SES) within the United States. I examine pregnancy and health at birth to investigate possible mechanisms linking SES and health. I find that a limited set of maternal health habits during pregnancy, particularly smoking habits, can explain about half (one third) of the correlation between SES and low birth weight among white (black) mothers. I show evidence on three hypotheses to explain why health habits vary by SES. First, differences in knowledge by SES create only modest differences in health behaviors by SES, explaining about 10 percent of differential smoking by education. Second, women respond to common knowledge differentially by SES, so that knowledge and its use combined explain up to one third of differential smoking by education. Third, the most important determinants of differential health behavior are 'third variables,' or variables that can simultaneously determine health habits and SES. Finally, I show evidence that network effects at the family level exacerbate differences in behavior regardless of the source.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8231.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8231.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: Apr 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8231

    Note: HC
    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords:

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Theodore Joyce, 1990. "Self-Selection, Prenatal Care, and Birthweight Among Blacks, Whites and Hispanics in New York City," NBER Working Papers 3549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 1996. "Health Insurance Eligibility, Utilization of Medical Care, and Child Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 431-66, May.
    4. Mark R. Rosenzweig & T. Paul Schultz, 1982. "The Behavior of Mothers as Inputs to Child Health: The Determinants of Birth Weight, Gestation, and Rate of Fetal Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 53-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Blank, Rebecca M. & George, Christine C. & London, Rebecca A., 1996. "State abortion rates the impact of policies, providers, politics, demographics, and economic environment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 513-553, October.
    6. Glaeser, Edward L & Sacerdote, Bruce & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-48, May.
    7. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 1999. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," Working Papers 9903, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    8. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Mortality, Education, Income, and Inequality among American Cohorts," NBER Chapters, in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 129-170 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kenkel, D.S., 1988. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, And Schooling," Papers, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics 10-88-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    10. James Smith & Raynard Kington, 1997. "Demographic and economic correlates of health in old age," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 159-170, February.
    11. Anne C. Case & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Michael Grossman, 1973. "The Correlation Between Health and Schooling," NBER Working Papers 0022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel, 1997. "Can Higher Cigarette Taxes Improve Birth Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 5998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1985. "Birth Outcome Production Functions in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 1729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. W. Frisbie & Douglas Forbes & Starling Pullum, 1996. "Compromised birth outcomes and infant mortality among racial and ethnic groups," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 469-481, November.
    16. Jones, Andrew M., 1994. "Health, addiction, social interaction and the decision to quit smoking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 93-110, March.
    17. Farrell, Phillip & Fuchs, Victor R. & Fuchs, Victor R., 1982. "Schooling and health : The cigarette connection," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 217-230, December.
    18. Matthew C. Farrelly & William N. Evans & Edward Montgomery, 1999. "Do Workplace Smoking Bans Reduce Smoking?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 728-747, September.
    19. Kane, Thomas J & Staiger, Douglas, 1996. "Teen Motherhood and Abortion Access," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 467-506, May.
    20. Joyce, Theodore, 1999. "Impact of augmented prenatal care on birth outcomes of Medicaid recipients in New York City," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 31-67, January.
    21. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
    22. Mark R. Rosenzweig & T. Paul Schultz, 1988. "The Stability of Household Production Technology: A Replication," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 535-549.
    23. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    24. Hanratty, Maria J, 1996. "Canadian National Health Insurance and Infant Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 276-84, March.
    25. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
    26. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, October.
    27. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Youth Smoking in the U.S.: Prices and Policies," NBER Working Papers 7506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "The Technology of Birth: Health Insurance, Medical Interventions, and Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 5985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Victor R. Fuchs, 1982. "Time Preference and Health: An Exploratory Study," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 93-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    30. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1991. "Inequality at birth : The scope for policy intervention," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 205-228, October.
    31. Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 1996. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Changes in the Medicaid Eligibility of Pregnant Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1263-96, December.
    32. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
    33. H. M. Shefrin & Richard Thaler, 1977. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," NBER Working Papers 0208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    34. Samuel H. Preston, 1996. "American Longevity: Past, Present, and Future," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University 7, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8231. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.