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Income, Income Inequality, and Health: Evidence from China

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  • Li, Hongbin
  • Zhu, Yi

Abstract

This paper tests using survey data from China whether individual health is associated with income and community-level income inequality. Although poor health and high inequality are key features of many developing countries, most of the earlier literature has drawn on data from developed countries in studying the association between the two. We find that self-reported health status increases with per capita income, but at a decreasing rate. Controlling for per capita income, we find an inverted-U association between self-reported health status and income inequality, which suggests that high inequality in a community poses threats to health. We also find that high inequality increases the probability of health-compromising behavior such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Most of our findings are robust to different measures of health status and income inequality.

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File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/stc/repec/pdfs/rp2006/dp2006-07.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number DP2006/07.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:dp2006-07

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Keywords: health; income; inequality; behaviour; China;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Chen, Zhuo & Gotway Crawford, Carol A., 2012. "The role of geographic scale in testing the income inequality hypothesis as an explanation of health disparities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(6), pages 1022-1031.
  2. Chamon, Marcos & Liu, Kai & Prasad, Eswar, 2013. "Income uncertainty and household savings in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 164-177.
  3. GOH, Chor-ching & LUO, Xubei & ZHU, Nong, 2009. "Income growth, inequality and poverty reduction: A case study of eight provinces in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 485-496, September.
  4. Chen, Xi, 2013. "Relative Deprivation in China," MPRA Paper 48582, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Sun, Ping & Unger, Jennifer B. & Palmer, Paula & Ma, Huiyan & Xie, Bin & Sussman, Steve & Johnson, C. Anderson, 2012. "Relative income inequality and selected health outcomes in urban Chinese youth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 84-91.
  6. Yeatts, Dale E. & Pei, Xiaomei & Cready, Cynthia M. & Shen, Yuying & Luo, Hao & Tan, Junxin, 2013. "Village characteristics and health of rural Chinese older adults: Examining the CHARLS Pilot Study of a rich and poor province," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 71-78.
  7. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2012. "Costly posturing: relative status, ceremonies and early child development in China:," IFPRI discussion papers 1206, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Feng, Zhixin & Wang, Wenfei Winnie & Jones, Kelvyn & Li, Yaqing, 2012. "An exploratory multilevel analysis of income, income inequality and self-rated health of the elderly in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2481-2492.
  9. Luo, Xubei & Zhu, Nong, 2008. "Rising income inequality in China : a race to the top," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4700, The World Bank.
  10. Adjaye-Gbewonyo, Kafui & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2012. "Use of the Yitzhaki Index as a test of relative deprivation for health outcomes: A review of recent literature," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 129-137.
  11. Xiao Luo & Chor-Ching Goh & Nong Zhu, 2014. "Income Growth, Inequality and Poverty Reduction: A Case Study of Eight Provinces in China," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-03, CIRANO.
  12. Kossova Tatiana & Kossova Elena & Sukhodoev Vladimir, 2012. "Revealing Macroeconomic Determinants of Alcohol Abuse and its Influence on Life Expectancy in Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 14/EC/2012, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  13. Ming Lu & Hong Gao, 2010. "When Globalization Meets Urbanization: Labor Market Reform, Income Inequality, and Economic Growth in the People’s Republic of China," Working Papers id:3095, eSocialSciences.
  14. Modrek, Sepideh & Dow, William H. & Rosero-Bixby, Luis, 2012. "Long-term association of economic inequality and mortality in adult Costa Ricans," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 158-166.
  15. World Bank, 2008. "Thailand Social Monitor on Youth : Development and the Next Generation," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8036, The World Bank.
  16. Leonardo Becchetti & Giuseppina Gianfreda, 2008. "When consumption heals producers: the effect of fair trade on marginalised producers’ health and productivity," Working Papers 86, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  17. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  18. Jin, Ye & Li, Hongbin & Wu, Binzhen, 2011. "Income inequality, consumption, and social-status seeking," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 191-204, June.

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