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Social capital, income inequality, and self-rated health in 45 countries

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  • Mansyur, Carol
  • Amick, Benjamin C.
  • Harrist, Ronald B.
  • Franzini, Luisa

Abstract

There has been growing interest in the relationship between the social environment and health. Among the concepts that have emerged over the past decade to examine this relationship are socio-economic inequality and social capital. Using data from the World Values Survey and the World Bank, we tested the hypothesis that self-rated health is affected by social capital and income inequality cross-nationally. The merit of our approach was that we used multilevel methods in a larger and more diverse sample of countries than used previously. Our results indicated that, for a large number of diverse countries, commonly used measures of social capital and income inequality had strong compositional effects on self-rated health, but inconsistent contextual effects, depending on the countries included. Cross-level interactions suggested that contextual measures can moderate the effect of compositional measures on self-rated health. Sensitivity tests indicated that effects varied in different subsets of countries. Future research should examine country-specific characteristics, such as differences in cultural values or norms, which may influence the relationships between social capital, income inequality, and health.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:1:p:43-56
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2015. "Structural social capital and health in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 129-142.
    2. Layes, Audrey & Asada, Yukiko & Kephart, George, 2012. "Whiners and deniers – What does self-rated health measure?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 1-9.
    3. Hurtado, David & Kawachi, Ichiro & Sudarsky, John, 2011. "Social capital and self-rated health in Colombia: The good, the bad and the ugly," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(4), pages 584-590, February.
    4. Olafsdottir, Sigrun & Bakhtiari, Elyas & Barman, Emily, 2014. "Public or private? The role of the state and civil society in health and health inequalities across nations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 174-181.
    5. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1428-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:socmed:v:196:y:2018:i:c:p:115-122 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Ko, Michelle & Derose, Kathryn Pitkin & Needleman, Jack & Ponce, Ninez A., 2014. "Whose social capital matters? The case of U.S. urban public hospital closures and conversions to private ownership," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 188-196.
    8. Zheng, Hui & George, Linda K., 2012. "Rising U.S. income inequality and the changing gradient of socioeconomic status on physical functioning and activity limitations, 1984–2007," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2170-2182.
    9. Fujisawa, Yoshikazu & Hamano, Tsuyoshi & Takegawa, Shogo, 2009. "Social capital and perceived health in Japan: An ecological and multilevel analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 500-505, August.
    10. Bakshi, Sanjeev & Pathak, Prasanta, 2009. "Health at Old Ages in India: Statistical Exposition of Its Socio-Cultural and Gender Dimensions," MPRA Paper 60690, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Sabatini, Fabio, 2014. "The relationship between happiness and health: Evidence from Italy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 178-187.
    12. repec:eee:socmed:v:197:y:2018:i:c:p:127-135 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Jylhä, Marja, 2009. "What is self-rated health and why does it predict mortality? Towards a unified conceptual model," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 307-316, August.
    14. Berry, Helen Louise & Welsh, Jennifer A., 2010. "Social capital and health in Australia: An overview from the household, income and labour dynamics in Australia survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(4), pages 588-596, February.
    15. Sehee Han & Heaseung Kim & Hee-Sun Lee, 2013. "A Multilevel Analysis of the Compositional and Contextual Association of Social Capital and Subjective Well-Being in Seoul, South Korea," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 185-202, March.
    16. repec:eee:socmed:v:204:y:2018:i:c:p:108-116 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Siddhivinayak Hirve & Johan Oud & Somnath Sambhudas & Sanjay Juvekar & Yulia Blomstedt & Stephen Tollman & Stig Wall & Nawi Ng, 2014. "Unpacking Self-Rated Health and Quality of Life in Older Adults and Elderly in India: A Structural Equation Modelling Approach," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 117(1), pages 105-119, May.
    18. Kim, Daniel & Baum, Christopher F. & Ganz, Michael L. & Subramanian, S.V. & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2011. "The contextual effects of social capital on health: A cross-national instrumental variable analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(12), pages 1689-1697.
    19. repec:eee:socmed:v:203:y:2018:i:c:p:9-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:eee:socmed:v:201:y:2018:i:c:p:103-110 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Jen, Min Hua & Jones, Kelvyn & Johnston, Ron, 2009. "Global variations in health: Evaluating Wilkinson's income inequality hypothesis using the World Values Survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 643-653, February.
    22. Agampodi, Thilini Chanchala & Agampodi, Suneth Buddhika & Glozier, Nicholas & Siribaddana, Sisira, 2015. "Measurement of social capital in relation to health in low and middle income countries (LMIC): A systematic review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 95-104.
    23. Patulny, Roger & Siminski, Peter & Mendolia, Silvia, 2015. "The front line of social capital creation – A natural experiment in symbolic interaction," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 8-18.
    24. Francesco Bartolucci & Silvia Bacci & Fulvia Pennoni, 2014. "Longitudinal analysis of self-reported health status by mixture latent auto-regressive models," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 63(2), pages 267-288, February.
    25. Han, Sehee, 2013. "Compositional and contextual associations of social capital and self-rated health in Seoul, South Korea: A multilevel analysis of longitudinal evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 113-120.

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