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Inequality in Opportunities in Health in France: A first pass

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  • Trannoy, A
  • Tubeuf, S
  • Jusot, F
  • Devaux, M

Abstract

This article analyses the role played by childhood circumstances, especially social and family background in explaining health status among older adults. We also explore the hypothesis of an intergenerational transmission of health inequalities using the French part of SHARE. As the impact of both social background and parents’ health on health status in adulthood represent circumstances independent of individual responsibility, this study allows us to test for the existence in France of inequalities of opportunity in health related to family and social background. Empirically, our study relies both on tests of stochastic dominance at first order and multivariate regressions, supplemented by a counterfactual analysis to evaluate the longlasting impact of childhood conditions on inequality in health. Allocating the best circumstances in both parents’ SES and parents’ health reduces inequality in health by an impressive 57% using the Gini coefficient. The mother’s social status has a direct effect on the health of her offspring. By contrast, the effect on the descendant’s health from the father’s social status is indirect only, going through the descendant’s social status as an adult. There is also a direct effect of each parent’s health on health in adulthood.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 08/24.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:08/24

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Keywords: Stochastic dominance - equality of opportunity – inequality in health – intergenerational transmission – older adults – Gini index;

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  1. Augustin Vicard & Andrew E. Clark, 2007. "Conditions de collecte et santé subjective : une analyse sur données européennes," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 403(1), pages 143-163.
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  3. Deaton, A., 2001. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Papers 200, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  4. Bourguignon, François & Ferreira, Francisco & Menéndez, Marta, 2007. "Inequality of Opportunity in Brazil," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1552, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. Eddy van Doorslaer & Xander Koolman, 2004. "Explaining the differences in income-related health inequalities across European countries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 609-628.
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  8. Ahlburg, Dennis, 1998. "Intergenerational Transmission of Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 265-70, May.
  9. 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.
  10. Ferreira , Francisco H. G. & Gignoux, Jeremie, 2008. "The measurement of inequality of opportunity : theory and an application to Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4659, The World Bank.
  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. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  13. Grossman, Michael, 1982. "The demand for health after a decade," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-3, May.
  14. Pedro Rosa Dias & Andrew M. Jones, 2007. "Giving equality of opportunity a fair innings," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 109-112.
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