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Parental income and child health in Japan

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  • Nakamura, Sayaka

Abstract

Previous studies have consistently found evidence of an income gradient in health among children in various countries, and studies in Anglo-Saxon countries have found that this gradient increases with child age. Using nationally representative individual-level data, I examine the association between child health and parental income in Japan. Japan has a child poverty rate that is similar to the rate of many countries that have been studied previously, but Japan outperforms those countries on most health indicators. I find that an income gradient exists in child health in Japan, but that it is limited to specific health measures and symptoms, and that it is weaker overall in that respect than the gradient found in other countries or among Japanese adults. Moreover, I find no evidence that the gradient increases with child age. The fact that children in low-income families have relatively modest and non-accumulating health disadvantages may contribute to the overall health of the Japanese population. Nevertheless, there is a statistically significant negative association between parental income and the incidences of asthma, hearing problems, and dental symptoms in children, implying that future efforts to improve the health of underprivileged children should focus on the prevention and control of these diseases.

Suggested Citation

  • Nakamura, Sayaka, 2014. "Parental income and child health in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 42-55.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:32:y:2014:i:c:p:42-55
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jjie.2013.12.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Child health; Income gradient; Parental income;

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