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Relative income, race, and mortality

  • Miller, Douglas L.
  • Paxson, Christina

The topic of this paper is the relationship between relative income and health. We examine whether people whose incomes are high relative to others who live in the same geographic area have lower or higher mortality. This analysis holds own income fixed, so the question is not only whether own income matters for health, but also whether the incomes of others affects health given own income. It is well-established that wealthier individuals are healthier and live longer (see Sorlie et.al. (1995) and Elo and Preston (1996), and the review in Adler et.al. (1994)). The proposition that relative income affects health is more controversial. Although there are reasons why there could be health benefits from having wealthier neighbors, a growing body of literature argues that low relative income is a health hazard. This proposition runs counter to the Pareto principle and, if correct, could have very unorthodox implications for economic policy.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 25 (2006)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 979-1003

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:25:y:2006:i:5:p:979-1003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods And Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284, November.
  2. Lawrence Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & B. Jeffrey Liebman & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2004. "Moving to Opportunity and Tranquility: Neighborhood Effects on Adult Economic Self-Sufficiency and Health From a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," Working Papers 860, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Jennifer Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 1998. "Income Inequality and Health Status in the United States: Evidence From the Current Population Survey," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9815, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  4. Angus Deaton & Darren Lubotsky, 2002. "Mortality, inequality and race in American cities and states," Working Papers 263, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  5. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Mortality, Education, Income, and Inequality among American Cohorts," NBER Chapters, in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 129-170 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Elo, Irma T. & Preston, Samuel H., 1996. "Educational differentials in mortality: United States, 1979-1985," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 47-57, January.
  8. Jonathan Skinner & Douglas Staiger, 2005. "Technology Adoption From Hybrid Corn to Beta Blockers," NBER Working Papers 11251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Soobader, Mah-Jabeen & LeClere, Felicia B., 1999. "Aggregation and the measurement of income inequality: effects on morbidity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 733-744, March.
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  13. Christine Eibner & William N. Evans, 2005. "Relative Deprivation, Poor Health Habits, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
  14. Ulf-G. Gerdtham & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Absolute Income, Relative Income, Income Inequality, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  15. Michael Ash & T. Robert Fetter, 2004. "Who Lives on the Wrong Side of the Environmental Tracks? Evidence from the EPA's Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators Model," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 85(2), pages 441-462.
  16. Amitabh Chandra & Jonathan Skinner, 2003. "Geography and Racial Health Disparities," NBER Working Papers 9513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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