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Poverty, wealth inequality and health among older adults in rural Cambodia

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  • Zimmer, Zachary

Abstract

Little research exists on health determinants among adults living in economically deprived regions despite the fact that these areas comprise a good part of the world. This paper examines the distribution of wealth then tests associations between wealth inequality and a variety of health outcomes, among older adults, in one of the world's poorest regions--rural Cambodia. Data from the 2004 Survey of the Elderly in Cambodia are employed. Using a disablement framework to conceptualize health, associations between four health components and a wealth inequality measure are tested. The wealth inequality measure is based on an index that operationalizes wealth as ownership of household assets and household structural components. Results confirm difficult economic conditions in rural Cambodia. The lowest wealth quintile lives in households that own nothing, while the next quintiles are only slightly better off. Nevertheless, logistic regressions that adjust for other covariates indicate heterogeneity in health across quintiles that appear qualitatively similar, with the bottom quintiles reporting the most health problems. An exception is disability, which presents a U-shaped association. It is difficult to determine mechanisms behind the relationship using cross-sectional data, but the paper speculates on possible causal directions, both from wealth to health and vice-versa. The analysis suggests the ability to generalize the relationship between wealth inequality and health to extremely poor populations as a very small difference in wealth makes a relatively large difference with respect to health associations among those in meager surroundings.

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  • Zimmer, Zachary, 2008. "Poverty, wealth inequality and health among older adults in rural Cambodia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 57-71, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:1:p:57-71
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    Cited by:

    1. Kumar, Kaushalendra & Shukla, Ankita & Singh, Abhishek & Ram, Faujdar & Kowal, Paul, 2016. "Association between wealth and health among older adults in rural China and India," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 43-52.
    2. Barik, Debasis & Desai, Sonalde & Vanneman, Reeve, 2018. "Economic Status and Adult Mortality in India: Is the Relationship Sensitive to Choice of Indicators?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 176-187.
    3. Akanksha Srivastava & Sanjay Mohanty, 2012. "Poverty Among Elderly in India," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 493-514, December.
    4. Robert P Finger & David G Kupitz & Eva Fenwick & Bharath Balasubramaniam & Ramanathan V Ramani & Frank G Holz & Clare E Gilbert, 2012. "The Impact of Successful Cataract Surgery on Quality of Life, Household Income and Social Status in South India," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 7(8), pages 1-7, August.
    5. Lih-Shing Chan & Kee-Lee Chou, 2018. "A Survey of Asset Poverty Among Older Adults of Hong Kong," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 138(2), pages 605-622, July.
    6. Siu-Yau Lee & Kee-Lee Chou, 2016. "Trends in Elderly Poverty in Hong Kong: A Decomposition Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(2), pages 551-564, November.
    7. Hend Gabr & Fiona Carmichael & Hui Li, 2019. "A Multilevel Simultaneous Equations Modelling Approach to Investigate the Relationship between Poverty and Labour-Force Participation among the Elderly in Egypt," International Journal of Environmental Sciences & Natural Resources, Juniper Publishers Inc., vol. 22(1), pages 01-12, October.
    8. Hannah Kuper & Sarah Polack & Wanjiku Mathenge & Cristina Eusebio & Zakia Wadud & Mamunur Rashid & Allen Foster, 2010. "Does Cataract Surgery Alleviate Poverty? Evidence from a Multi-Centre Intervention Study Conducted in Kenya, the Philippines and Bangladesh," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 5(11), pages 1-10, November.
    9. Gerda G Fillenbaum & Sergio L Blay & Carl F Pieper & Katherine E King & Sergio B Andreoli & Fábio L Gastal, 2013. "The Association of Health and Income in the Elderly: Experience from a Southern State of Brazil," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(9), pages 1-1, September.
    10. Grace Lordan & Eliana Jimenez Soto & Richard P. C. Brown & Ignacio Correa‐Valez, 2012. "Socioeconomic status and health outcomes in a developing country," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 178-186, February.
    11. Md Ismail Tareque & Atsushi Koshio & Andrew D Tiedt & Toshihiko Hasegawa, 2015. "Are the Rates of Hypertension and Diabetes Higher in People from Lower Socioeconomic Status in Bangladesh? Results from a Nationally Representative Survey," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(5), pages 1-17, May.
    12. Md Ismail Tareque & Sharifa Begum & Yasuhiko Saito, 2014. "Inequality in Disability in Bangladesh," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 9(7), pages 1-10, July.
    13. Bakshi, Sanjeev & Pathak, Prasanta, 2010. "Social context and the burden of ill health among the older adults in India," MPRA Paper 40463, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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