IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/socmed/v150y2016icp172-183.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Socioeconomic inequality in health in the British household panel: Tests of the social causation, health selection and the indirect selection hypothesis using dynamic fixed effects panel models

Author

Listed:
  • Foverskov, Else
  • Holm, Anders

Abstract

Despite social inequality in health being well documented, it is still debated which causal mechanism best explains the negative association between socioeconomic position (SEP) and health. This paper is concerned with testing the explanatory power of three widely proposed causal explanations for social inequality in health in adulthood: the social causation hypothesis (SEP determines health), the health selection hypothesis (health determines SEP) and the indirect selection hypothesis (no causal relationship). We employ dynamic data of respondents aged 30 to 60 from the last nine waves of the British Household Panel Survey. Household income and location on the Cambridge Scale is included as measures of different dimensions of SEP and health is measured as a latent factor score. The causal hypotheses are tested using a time-based Granger approach by estimating dynamic fixed effects panel regression models following the method suggested by Anderson and Hsiao. We propose using this method to estimate the associations over time since it allows one to control for all unobserved time-invariant factors and hence lower the chances of biased estimates due to unobserved heterogeneity. The results showed no proof of the social causation hypothesis over a one to five year period and limited support for the health selection hypothesis was seen only for men in relation to HH income. These findings were robust in multiple sensitivity analysis. We conclude that the indirect selection hypothesis may be the most important in explaining social inequality in health in adulthood, indicating that the well-known cross-sectional correlations between health and SEP in adulthood seem not to be driven by a causal relationship, but instead by dynamics and influences in place before the respondents turn 30 years old that affect both their health and SEP onwards. The conclusion is limited in that we do not consider the effect of specific diseases and causal relationships in adulthood may be present over a longer timespan than 5 years.

Suggested Citation

  • Foverskov, Else & Holm, Anders, 2016. "Socioeconomic inequality in health in the British household panel: Tests of the social causation, health selection and the indirect selection hypothesis using dynamic fixed effects panel models," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 172-183.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:150:y:2016:i:c:p:172-183
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.12.021
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953615302811
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. repec:pri:rpdevs:case_and_paxson_whitehall_jan_2011 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Michael Anderson & Michael Marmot, 2012. "The Effects of Promotions on Heart Disease: Evidence from Whitehall," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(561), pages 555-589, June.
    3. Chandola, Tarani & Bartley, Mel & Sacker, Amanda & Jenkinson, Crispin & Marmot, Michael, 2003. "Health selection in the Whitehall II study, UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(10), pages 2059-2072, May.
    4. Meer, Jonathan & Miller, Douglas L. & Rosen, Harvey S., 2003. "Exploring the health-wealth nexus," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 713-730, September.
    5. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2011. "The Long Reach of Childhood Health and Circumstance: Evidence from the Whitehall II Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(554), pages 183-204, August.
    6. (*), Nigel Rice & Paul Contoyannis, 2001. "The impact of health on wages: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 599-622.
    7. Clive W.J. Granger, 2004. "Time Series Analysis, Cointegration, and Applications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 421-425, June.
    8. Paul Contoyannis & Andrew M. Jones & Nigel Rice, 2004. "The dynamics of health in the British Household Panel Survey," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 473-503.
    9. repec:spr:portec:v:1:y:2002:i:2:d:10.1007_s10258-002-0009-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Cardano, Mario & Costa, Giuseppe & Demaria, Moreno, 2004. "Social mobility and health in the Turin longitudinal study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(8), pages 1563-1574, April.
    11. West, Patrick, 1991. "Rethinking the health selection explanation for health inequalities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 373-384, January.
    12. Aittomäki, Akseli & Martikainen, Pekka & Laaksonen, Mikko & Lahelma, Eero & Rahkonen, Ossi, 2012. "Household economic resources, labour-market advantage and health problems – A study on causal relationships using prospective register data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(7), pages 1303-1310.
    13. Jenkins, Stephen P., 2011. "Changing Fortunes: Income Mobility and Poverty Dynamics in Britain," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199226436.
    14. James P. Smith, 2007. "The Impact of Socioeconomic Status on Health over the Life-Course," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
    15. Dale Dannefer, 2003. "Cumulative Advantage/Disadvantage and the Life Course: Cross-Fertilizing Age and Social Science Theory," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 58(6), pages 327-337.
    16. Marmot, Michael & Ryff, Carol D. & Bumpass, Larry L. & Shipley, Martin & Marks, Nadine F., 1997. "Social inequalities in health: Next questions and converging evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 901-910, March.
    17. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-438, July.
    18. repec:pri:cheawb:case_and_paxson_whitehall_jan_2011 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Jenkins, Stephen P., 2010. "The British Household Panel Survey and its income data," ISER Working Paper Series 2010-33, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    20. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters,in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. repec:pri:cheawb:case_and_paxson_whitehall_jan_2011.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    23. George Ploubidis & Emily Grundy, 2011. "Health Measurement in Population Surveys: Combining Information from Self-reported and Observer-Measured Health Indicators," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(2), pages 699-724, May.
    24. Stephen Bond, 2002. "Dynamic panel data models: a guide to microdata methods and practice," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    25. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Richards, Lindsay & Paskov, Marii, 2016. "Social class, employment status and inequality in psychological well-being in the UK: Cross-sectional and fixed effects analyses over two decades," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 45-53.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:150:y:2016:i:c:p:172-183. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.