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On the measurement of health and its effect on the measurement of health inequality

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  • Nesson, Erik T.
  • Robinson, Joshua J.

Abstract

We examine the extent to which self-reported health measures suffer from income-related reporting heterogeneity and then characterize how this reporting heterogeneity affects the estimation of income-related health inequality. We run a comprehensive set of tests of reporting heterogeneity using several self-reported health measures and several clinical measures of health from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys. We propose the use of a multidimensional measure using clinical indicators of health in the context of measuring income-related health inequality, and we examine the extent of income-related health inequality, as measured by the concentration index, using both self-reported measures of health and the multidimensional clinical measure. Our results confirm the existence of significant, positive, income-related reporting heterogeneity and also suggest that higher income individuals react more strongly to a change in clinical health measures. Using self-assessed health suggests that income-related health inequality is about three times larger than when using more objective, self-reported health measures and ten times larger than when using the multidimensional clinical measure of health.

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  • Nesson, Erik T. & Robinson, Joshua J., 2019. "On the measurement of health and its effect on the measurement of health inequality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 207-221.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:35:y:2019:i:c:p:207-221
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2019.07.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health inequality; Concentration index; Self-reported health; Self-assessed health; Allostatic load;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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