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Socioeconomic Status and Health: Why is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?

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  • Janet Currie
  • Mark Stabile

Abstract

Case, Lubotsky, and Paxson (2001) show that the well-known relationship between socio- economic status (SES) and health exists in childhood and grows more pronounced with age. However, in cross-sectional data it is difficult to distinguish between two possible explanations. The first is that low-SES children are less able to respond to a given health shock. The second is that low SES children experience more shocks. We show, using panel data on Canadian children that: 1) the gradient we estimate in the cross section is very similar to that estimated previously using U.S. children; 2) both high and low-SES children recover from past health shocks to about the same degree; and 3) that the relationship between SES and health grows stronger over time mainly because low-SES children receive more negative health shocks. In addition, we examine the effect of health shocks on math and reading scores. We find that health shocks affect test scores and future health in very similar ways. Our results suggest that public policy aimed at reducing SES-related health differentials in children should focus on reducing the incidence of health shocks as well as on reducing disparities in access to palliative care.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9098.

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Date of creation: Aug 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9098

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References

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  1. Angus Deaton, 1999. "Inequalities in income and inequalities in health," Working Papers 280, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  2. Lori J. Curtis & Martin D. Dooley & Ellen L. Lipman & David H. Feeny, 2001. "The role of permanent income and family structure in the determination of child health in Canada," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 287-302.
  3. Michael Baker & Mark Stabile & Catherine Deri, 2004. "What Do Self-Reported, Objective, Measures of Health Measure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
  4. Ford, Graeme & Ecob, Russell & Hunt, Kate & Macintyre, Sally & West, Patrick, 1994. "Patterns of class inequality in health through the lifespan: Class gradients at 15, 35 and 55 years in the west of Scotland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1037-1050, October.
  5. 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.
  6. 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..
  7. 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.
  8. Currie, Janet, 1995. " Socio-Economic Status and Child Health: Does Public Health Insurance Narrow the Gap?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 603-20, December.
  9. Smith, James P, 1998. "Socioeconomic Status and Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 192-96, May.
  10. Lori Curtis & Martin D. Dooley & Ellen L. Lipman & David H. Feeny, . "The Role of Permanent Income and Family Structure in the Determination of Child Health in the Ontario Child Health Study," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 16, McMaster University.
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Cited by:
  1. Xin Meng & Nancy Qian, 2009. "The Long Term Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from a Unique Natural Experiment using China's Great Famine," NBER Working Papers 14917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daphne Hernandez & Kathleen Ziol-Guest, 2009. "Income Volatility and Family Structure Patterns: Association with Stability and Change in Food Stamp Program Participation," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 357-371, December.
  3. 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.
  4. MacInnis, Bo, 2004. "Pesticides And Child Health: Evidence From Hispanic Children In The U.S," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20184, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  5. Meng, Xin & Qian, Nancy, 2006. "The Long Run Health and Economic Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from China’s Great Famine," IZA Discussion Papers 2471, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Nancy E. Reichman & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan, 2003. "Effects of Child Health on Parents' Relationship Status," NBER Working Papers 9610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mauricio Cortez Reis, 2011. "Food insecurity and therelationship between household income and child health in Brazil," Anais do XXXVII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 37th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 220, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  8. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2003. "From Cradle to Grave? The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," NBER Working Papers 9788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hope Corman & Nancy E. Reichman & Kelly Noonan, 2003. "Mothers' and Fathers' Labor Supply in Fragile Families: The Role of Child Health," NBER Working Papers 9918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Schenk, Niels & van Poppel, Frans, 2011. "Social class, social mobility and mortality in the Netherlands, 1850-2004," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 401-417, July.
  11. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
  12. Claire de Oliveira, 2009. "Good Health to All: Reducing Health Inequalities among Children in High- and Low-Income Canadian Families," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 288, May.
  13. Joseph P. Ferrie, 2003. "The Rich and the Dead. Socioeconomic Status and Mortality in the United States, 1850–1860," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 11-50 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Calitri, Ronald, 2009. "Measures of schoolchild height and weight as indicators of community nutrition, lessons from Brazil," MPRA Paper 24065, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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