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Comparing subjective and objective measures of health: Evidence from hypertension for the income/health gradient

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  • Johnston, David W.
  • Propper, Carol
  • Shields, Michael A.

Abstract

Economists rely heavily on self-reported measures of health to examine the relationship between income and health. We directly compare survey responses of a self-reported measure of health that is commonly used in nationally representative surveys with objective measures of the same health condition. We focus on hypertension. We find no evidence of an income/health gradient using self-reported hypertension but a sizeable gradient when using objectively measured hypertension. We also find that the probability of false negative reporting is significantly income graded. Our results suggest that using commonly available self-reported chronic health measures might underestimate true income-related inequalities in health.

Suggested Citation

  • Johnston, David W. & Propper, Carol & Shields, Michael A., 2009. "Comparing subjective and objective measures of health: Evidence from hypertension for the income/health gradient," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 540-552, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:3:p:540-552
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    Keywords

    Hypertension Objective health Self-reported health Reporting error Income;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods

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