Unraveling the SES-Health Connection
AbstractWhile a debate rages on about competing reasons why SES may affect health, there is little recognition that the so-called reverse causation from health to economic status may be pretty fundamental as well. Even if the direction of causation is that SES mainly affects health, what dimensions of SES actually matter—the financial aspects such as income or wealth or non-financial dimensions like education? Finally, is there a life course component to the health gradient so that we may be mislead in trying to answer these questions by only looking at people of a certain age—say those past 50. This paper, which is divided into four sections, provides my answers to these questions. The first section examines the issue of reverse causation or whether a new health event has a significant impact on four dimensions of SES—out-of-pocket medical expenses, labor supply, household income, and household wealth. The next section switches the perspective by asking whether the so-called direct causation from SES to health really matters all that much. If the answer is yes and it will be, a sub-theme in this section concerns which dimensions of SES—income, wealth, or education—matter for individual health. Since the answer to that question turns out to be education, Section 3 deals with the very much more difficult issue of why education matters so much. The evidence in these first three sections relies on data for people above age 50. In the final section of the paper, I test the robustness of my answers to these basic questions of the meaning of the SES-health gradient using data that span the entire life-course.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0505018.
Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 19 May 2005
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 25. Published in Aging, Health, and Public Policy: Demographic and Economic Perspectives, a supplement to Population and Development Review, Volume 30, New York: Population Council, 2005.
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://184.108.40.206
Other versions of this item:
- J - Labor and Demographic Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
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.:
- James Smith & Raynard Kington, 1997.
"Demographic and economic correlates of health in old age,"
Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 159-170, February.
- Smith, J-P & Kington, R, 1997. "Demographic and Economic Correlates of Health in Old Age," Papers 97-06, RAND - Reprint Series.
- James P. Smith & Raynard Kington, 2004. "Demographic and Economic Correlates of Health in Old Age," Labor and Demography 0408008, EconWPA.
- Anne Case & Angus S. Deaton, 2005.
"Broken Down by Work and Sex: How Our Health Declines,"
in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 185-212
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 2004. "Broken down by work and sex: how our health declines," Working Papers 257, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
- Anne C. Case & Angus Deaton, 2003. "Broken Down by Work and Sex: How Our Health Declines," NBER Working Papers 9821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2001.
"Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient,"
NBER Working Papers
8344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
- 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..
- James P. Smith, 2003.
"Consequences and Predictors of New Health Events,"
NBER Working Papers
10063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005.
"The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
- Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
- Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004.
"Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status,"
in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
- Dana P. Goldman & James P. Smith, 2004. "Can Patient Self-Management Help Explain the SES Health Gradient?," HEW 0403004, EconWPA.
- James P. Smith, 2004. "Why is Wealth Inequality Rising?," Macroeconomics 0402012, EconWPA.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral 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: (EconWPA).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.