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Socioeconomic differences in health over the life cycle in an Egalitarian country

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  • van Kippersluis, Hans
  • O'Donnell, Owen
  • van Doorslaer, Eddy
  • Van Ourti, Tom

Abstract

A strong cross-sectional relationship between health and socioeconomic status is firmly established. This paper adopts a life cycle perspective to investigate whether the socioeconomically disadvantaged, on top of a lower health level, experience a sharper deterioration of health over time. Data are drawn from the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) Health Interview Surveys covering the period 1983-2000. The analysis focuses on the self-rated health and disability of persons aged 16-80. We show that in the Netherlands, as in the US, the socioeconomic gradient in health widens until late-middle age and narrows thereafter. The analysis and the available evidence suggests that the widening gradient is attributable both to health-related withdrawal from the labor force, resulting in lower incomes, and the cumulative protective effect of education on health outcomes. The less educated appear to suffer a double health penalty in that they begin adult life with a slightly lower health level, which subsequently declines at a faster rate.

Suggested Citation

  • van Kippersluis, Hans & O'Donnell, Owen & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Van Ourti, Tom, 2010. "Socioeconomic differences in health over the life cycle in an Egalitarian country," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 428-438, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:70:y:2010:i:3:p:428-438
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlsen, Fredrik & Kaarboe, Oddvar Martin, 2015. "The relationship between educational attainment and waiting time among the elderly in Norway," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(11), pages 1450-1458.
    2. Lipton, Brandy J. & Decker, Sandra L., 2016. "The effect of Medicaid adult vision coverage on the likelihood of appropriate correction of distance vision: Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 258-267.
    3. Galama, Titus & Kapteyn, Arie, 2011. "Grossman’s missing health threshold," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1044-1056.
    4. James Banks & James P. Smith, 2012. "International Comparisons in Health Economics: Evidence from Aging Studies," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 57-81, July.
    5. repec:eee:hepoli:v:121:y:2017:i:7:p:778-785 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ovrum, Arnstein & Rickertsen, Kyrre, 2011. "Inequality in Health Versus Inequality in Lifestyles," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114556, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Liliya Leopold & Thomas Leopold, 2016. "Education and Health across Lives and Cohorts: A Study of Cumulative Advantage in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 835, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Guillem López i Casasnovas & Marina Soley Bori, 2012. "The Economic Crisis and it Effects on the Social Determinants of Health," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 201(2), pages 113-132, June.
    9. Titus J. Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2013. "Health Inequalities through the Lens of Health Capital Theory: Issues, Solutions, and Future Directions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-076/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Titus J. Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2010. "A Theory of Socioeconomic Disparities in Health over the Life Cycle," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-079/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Galama, Titus & Kapteyn, Arie, 2011. "Grossman’s missing health threshold," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, pages 1044-1056.
    12. Nordin , Martin & Gerdtham , Ulf-G, 2010. "Why a positive link between age and income-related health inequality?," Working Papers 2010:12, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    13. Eric French & Elaine Kelly & Pieter Bakx & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Doorslaer, 2016. "Spending on Health Care in the Netherlands: Not Going So Dutch," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 37, pages 593-625, September.
    14. ZHONG, Hai, 2015. "An over time analysis on the mechanisms behind the education–health gradients in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 135-149.
    15. Baeten, Steef & Van Ourti, Tom & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2013. "The socioeconomic health gradient across the life cycle: What role for selective mortality and institutionalization?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 66-74.
    16. Pilar García-Gómez & Hans-Martin Gaudecker & Maarten Lindeboom, 2011. "Health, disability and work: patterns for the working age population," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(2), pages 146-165, April.
    17. Martin Siegel & Markus Luengen & Stephanie Stock, 2013. "On age-specific variations in income-related inequalities in diabetes, hypertension and obesity," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 58(1), pages 33-41, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Socioeconomic status Life cycle Age Labor Education Self-rated health (SRH) Disability;

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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