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Health differences between European countries

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  • Olsen, Karen M.
  • Dahl, Svenn-Åge

Abstract

This paper examines self-reported health among individuals in 21 European countries. The purpose is to analyze how both individual- and country-level characteristics influence health. The study is based on data from the European Social Survey (ESS) conducted in 2003 and employs hierarchical modelling (N=38,472). We present three main findings: (1) individual-level characteristics, such as age, education, economic satisfaction, social network, unemployment, and occupational status are related to the health of individuals, both for women and men; (2) we tested how societal features, such as public expenditure on health, socioeconomic development, lifestyle, and social capital (social trust) were related to subjective health. Among the country-level characteristics, socioeconomic development, measured as GDP per capita (logarithm), is the indicator that is most strongly associated with better health, after controlling for individual-level characteristics; (3) the eastern European countries stand out as the countries where individuals report the poorest health. In our models, the individual-level variables explain 60% of the variance between countries, whereas 40% is explained by the macro-level variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Olsen, Karen M. & Dahl, Svenn-Åge, 2007. "Health differences between European countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(8), pages 1665-1678, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:64:y:2007:i:8:p:1665-1678
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    1. Mansyur, Carol & Amick, Benjamin C. & Harrist, Ronald B. & Franzini, Luisa, 2008. "Social capital, income inequality, and self-rated health in 45 countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 43-56, January.
    2. Elena Pirani & Silvana Salvini, 2012. "Place of living and health inequality: a study for elderly Italians," Statistical Methods & Applications, Springer;Società Italiana di Statistica, vol. 21(2), pages 211-226, June.
    3. Xindong Xue & W. Robert Reed, 2015. "The Relationship Between Social Capital And Health In China," Working Papers in Economics 15/05, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    4. Setti Rais & Ali Dourgnon & Lise Rochaix, 2018. "A shortcut to Rome: Exploring the Social Determinants of patients' Time to Diagnosis," PSE Working Papers halshs-01703170, HAL.
    5. Xue, Xindong & Mo, Erxiao & Reed, W. Robert, 2016. "The relationship between social capital and self-reported health in China," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-44.
    6. Eikemo, Terje Andreas & Bambra, Clare & Judge, Ken & Ringdal, Kristen, 2008. "Welfare state regimes and differences in self-perceived health in Europe: A multilevel analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(11), pages 2281-2295, June.
    7. Karlsdotter, Kristina & Martín Martín, José J. & López del Amo González, M. Puerto, 2012. "Multilevel analysis of income, income inequalities and health in Spain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1099-1106.
    8. MAZEIKAITE Gintare & O'DONOGHUE Cathal & SOLOGON Denisa, 2017. "Decomposing health inequality in the EU," LISER Working Paper Series 2017-02, LISER.
    9. Thierry Debrand & Nicolas Sirven, 2008. "Promoting Social Participation for Healthy Ageing - A Counterfactual Analysis from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)," Working Papers DT7, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Jan 2008.
    10. Sandy Tubeuf, 2009. "Explaining wealth-related health inequalities in European countries: the contribution of childhood circumstances and adulthood conditions," Working Papers 0902, Academic Unit of Health Economics, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds.
    11. Sandy Tubeuf & Florence Jusot, 2011. "Social health inequalities among older Europeans: the contribution of social and family background," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 12(1), pages 61-77, February.
    12. Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Masseria, Cristina, 2013. "Measuring Income-Related Inequalities in Health in Multi-Country Analysis/Midiendo las desigualdades en salud relacionadas con la renta entre países," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 31, pages 455-476, Septiembr.
    13. Van de Velde, Sarah & Bracke, Piet & Levecque, Katia, 2010. "Gender differences in depression in 23 European countries. Cross-national variation in the gender gap in depression," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 305-313, July.
    14. Sirven, Nicolas & Debrand, Thierry, 2012. "Social capital and health of older Europeans: Causal pathways and health inequalities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(7), pages 1288-1295.
    15. Dolores Jiménez-Rubio & Cristina Hernández-Quevedo, 2011. "Inequalities in the use of health services between immigrants and the native population in Spain: what is driving the differences?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 12(1), pages 17-28, February.
    16. Nelson, Kenneth & Fritzell, Johan, 2014. "Welfare states and population health: The role of minimum income benefits for mortality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 63-71.
    17. Foubert, Josephine & Levecque, Katia & Van Rossem, Ronan & Romagnoli, Alessia, 2014. "Do welfare regimes influence the association between disability and self-perceived health? A multilevel analysis of 57 countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 10-17.
    18. Furnée, Carina A. & Pfann, Gerard A., 2010. "Individual vulnerability and the nurturing state: The case of self-reported health and relative income," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 125-133, July.
    19. Elena Pirani & Silvana Salvini, 2012. "Socioeconomic Inequalities and Self-Rated Health: A Multilevel Study of Italian Elderly," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 31(1), pages 97-117, February.
    20. Linden, Mikael & Ray, Devdatta, 2017. "Aggregation bias-correcting approach to the health–income relationship: Life expectancy and GDP per capita in 148 countries, 1970–2010," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 126-136.
    21. Kaare Christensen, 2008. "Human Biodemography: Some challenges and possibilities," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(43), pages 1575-1586, September.
    22. Fuhmei Wang & Jung-Der Wang, 2017. "Telehealth and Sustainable Improvements to Quality of Life," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 12(1), pages 173-184, March.

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