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Community effects on elderly health: Evidence from CHARLS national baseline

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  • Smith, James P.
  • Tian, Meng
  • Zhao, Yaohui

Abstract

There is increasing interest in neighborhood or area effects on health and individual development. China, due to its vast regional variations in health infrastructure and geography and relative immobility of older residents, provides a rare opportunity to study such effects. Utilizing China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) baseline survey 2011–2012 which covered over 17,000 individuals in 450 randomly selected communities/villages, this paper addresses two questions: whether community/village characteristics matter for individual health and SES (Socio-Economic Status), and why they matter. Our statistical results indicate that community/village characteristics have strong associations with individual health and SES. We find that health infrastructure is important even after controlling for community income level. Using surface water increases the likelihood of worse health compared to tap water and even underground water. Compared to moving away by trucks, non-management of waste, and other management such as dump in local site or nearby water body are associated with worse health and SES outcomes. Toileting system without water has the worst influence on individual health and education achievements. Using hay or coal as cooking fuel has the largest negative effect on health and SES outcomes. Geography also plays a role. Extreme weather conditions cause people to be more depressed, and face severe difficulties in ADL (Activities of Daily Living) or IADL (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living) and other negative health conditions. Local landscapes also affect individual health and SES outcomes as mountainous and hilly areas exacerbate individual health status and SES outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Smith, James P. & Tian, Meng & Zhao, Yaohui, 2013. "Community effects on elderly health: Evidence from CHARLS national baseline," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 1, pages 50-59.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joecag:v:1-2:y:2013:i::p:50-59
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeoa.2013.07.001
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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212828X13000042
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1992:82:6:816-820_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Terry Sicular & Yue Ximing & Björn Gustafsson & Li Shi, 2007. "The Urban–Rural Income Gap And Inequality In China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(1), pages 93-126, March.
    3. Zhang, Xiaobo & Kanbur, Ravi, 2005. "Spatial inequality in education and health care in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 189-204.
    4. James Smith & Raynard Kington, 1997. "Demographic and economic correlates of health in old age," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(1), pages 159-170, February.
    5. Strauss, John & Lei, Xiaoyan & Park, Albert & Shen, Yan & Smith, James P. & Yang, Zhe & Zhao, Yaohui, 2010. "Health Outcomes and Socio-Economic Status among the Elderly in China: Evidence from the CHARLS Pilot," IZA Discussion Papers 5152, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. repec:ran:wpaper:774 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. James P. Smith & Yan Shen & John Strauss & Yang Zhe & Yaohui Zhao, 2012. "The Effects of Childhood Health on Adult Health and SES in China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(1), pages 127-156.
    8. Strauss, John & Thomas, Duncan, 2008. "Health over the Life Course," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
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    1. repec:eee:joecag:v:4:y:2014:i:c:p:59-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:joecag:v:3:y:2014:i:c:p:29-43 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Community effects; Elderly health; SES; CHARLS;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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