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Are There Differences in the Health- Socio-economic Status Relationship over the Life Cycle? Evidence from Germany


  • Keith A. Bender
  • Steffen Habermalz


Most research on the relationship between health and socio-economic status (SES) controls for age or investigates the relationship for a particular age range. This paper, however, examines the effect of SES on health across different age groups. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and controlling for health-SES endogeneity, we find that the health-income relationship does vary across the life cycle and between genders and different labor force status, with the impact of income on health relatively more pronounced for younger cohorts. The unemployed also have lower levels of health at all levels of income. Copyright 2008 The Authors.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith A. Bender & Steffen Habermalz, 2008. "Are There Differences in the Health- Socio-economic Status Relationship over the Life Cycle? Evidence from Germany," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(1), pages 107-125, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:labour:v:22:y:2008:i:1:p:107-125

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Meer, Jonathan & Miller, Douglas L. & Rosen, Harvey S., 2003. "Exploring the health-wealth nexus," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 713-730, September.
    2. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Johannesson, Magnus, 2001. "The relationship between happiness, health, and socio-economic factors: results based on Swedish microdata," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 553-557.
    3. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    4. Michael Hurd & Arie Kapteyn, 2003. "Health, Wealth, and the Role of Institutions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
    5. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
    6. Grundy, Emily & Holt, Gemma, 2000. "Adult life experiences and health in early old age in Great Britain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1061-1074, October.
    7. 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," NBER Chapters,in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Smith, James P, 1998. "Socioeconomic Status and Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 192-196, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    11. Metcalfe, Chris & Davey Smith, George & Sterne, Jonathan A. C. & Heslop, Pauline & Macleod, John & Hart, Carole, 2003. "Frequent job change and associated health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 1-15, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eriksson, Tor & Bratsberg, Bernt & Raaum, Oddbjørn, 2005. "Earnings persistence across generations: Transmission through health?," Memorandum 35/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    2. Bender, Keith A. & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2009. "Controlling for endogeneity in the health-socioeconomic status relationship of the near retired," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 977-987, December.
    3. Sara Rellstab & Marco Pecoraro & Alberto Holly & Philippe Wanner & Karine Renard, 2016. "The Migrant Health Gap and the Role of Labour Market Status: Evidence from Switzerland," IRENE Working Papers 16-14, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    4. Hostenkamp, Gisela & Stolpe, Michael, 2006. "The health gradient and early retirement: Evidence from the German Socio-economic Panel," Kiel Working Papers 1305, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General


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