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Health outcomes, health inequality and Mandarin proficiency in urban China

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  • Wang, Haining
  • Cheng, Zhiming
  • Smyth, Russell

Abstract

We examine the health returns to proficiency in Mandarin in urban China using longitudinal data from the China Family Panel Studies. We find that greater proficiency in Mandarin improves self-reported health, mental health and capacity to perform activities of daily living. We also examine the relationship between Mandarin proficiency and health inequality and the decomposition results show that differences in Mandarin proficiency account for between 2% and 20% of health inequality in urban China, depending on the health indicator. Our results suggest that promoting ‘standard Mandarin’ can serve as a vehicle to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequality.

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  • Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2019. "Health outcomes, health inequality and Mandarin proficiency in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:56:y:2019:i:c:8
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2019.101305
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    Cited by:

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    3. Chen, Yuanyuan & Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2023. "Education and Migrant Health in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    4. Rowland, Neil & McVicar, Duncan & Vlachos, Stavros & Jahanshahi, Babak & McGovern, Mark E. & O’Reilly, Dermot, 2024. "Long-term Exposure to Ambient PM2.5 and Population Health: Evidence from Longitudinally-linked Census Data," QBS Working Paper Series 2024/01, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's Business School.
    5. Zhou, Yonghong & Zhu, Rong & Zheng, Xian, 2020. "Second language skills and labor market outcomes: Evidence from the handover of Hong Kong," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C).
    6. Cheng, Zhiming & Tani, Massimiliano & Wang, Haining, 2021. "Energy poverty and entrepreneurship," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    7. Xu, Chen & Liu, Xiao, 2023. "The economic value of language in China: How important is Mandarin proficiency in the Chinese labor market? A bounding approach," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    8. Cheng, Zhiming & Wang, Ben Zhe & Jiang, Zhou & Taksa, Lucy & Tani, Massimiliano, 2020. "English Skills and Early Labour Market Integration of Humanitarian Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 13728, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2021. "Education and migrant entrepreneurship in urban China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 506-529.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; Mandarin proficiency; Health outcome; Health inequality; Human capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education

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