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Poverty and transitions in health

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  • Adena, Maja
  • Myck, Michal

Abstract

Using a sample of Europeans aged 50+ from twelve countries in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) we analyse the role of poor material conditions as a determinant of changes in health over a four-year period. We find that poverty defined with respect to relative incomes has no effect on changes in health. However, broader measures of poor material conditions such as subjective poverty or low relative value of wealth significantly increase the probability of transition to poor health among the healthy and reduce the chance of recovery from poor health over the time interval analysed. In addition to this the subjective measure of poverty has a significant effect on mortality, increasing it by 40.3% among men and by 58.3% among those aged 50-64. Material conditions matter for health among older people. We suggest that if monitoring of poverty in old age and corresponding policy targets are to focus on the relevant measures, they should take into account broader definitions of poverty than those based only on relative incomes. -- Wir untersuchen den Einfluss materieller Umstände auf die Gesundheit der Bevölkerung 50+ in Europa. Dafür analysieren wir die Ergebnisse des Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), einer repräsentativen Befragung von Personen im Alter 50+ aus 12 europäischen Ländern über einen Zeitraum von vier Jahren. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen, dass das Leben in Armut, definiert über das relative Einkommen, keinen Einfluss auf die Gesundheit ausübt. Bei weiter gefassten Definitionen von Armut, wie der subjektiven Armut oder einem niedrigen relativen Vermögen, erhöht sich hingegen die Wahrscheinlichkeit, einen schlechteren Gesundheitszustand zu erreichen, die Genesungswahrscheinlichkeit im analysierten Zeitraum reduziert sich. Des Weiteren ergeben unsere Untersuchungen, dass das subjektive Armutsempfinden die Sterblichkeitsrate signifikant erhöht. Diese Wahrscheinlichkeit ist für Männer um 40,3 Prozent höher, bei den 50- bis 64-Jährigen sogar 58,3 Prozent höher. Solche Ergebnisse weisen darauf hin, dass die materiellen Lebensumstände entscheidend für die Gesundheit der älteren Generation sind. Wir empfehlen, dass sich die Messung von Armut innerhalb der älteren Generation sowie die Zielsetzung in der Politik auf weiter gefasste Armutsdefinitionen stützen sollte als lediglich über das Einkommen definierte.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change with number SP II 2013-307.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2013307

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Keywords: health transitions; material conditions; poverty; mortality;

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  1. #HEJC for 17/10/2013
    by paulmitchell1 in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2013-10-10 05:30:39
  2. #HEJC papers for September 2013
    by academichealtheconomists in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2013-08-31 23:01:38

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