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Relative deprivation and child health in the USA

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  • Lhila, Aparna
  • Simon, Kosali I.

Abstract

Some recent papers have suggested that relative deprivation could be negatively related to health through psychosocial stress and related behaviors. While there is a large literature on the association between absolute deprivation, i.e., income, and child health, little is known about the association between relative deprivation and child health. This paper asks: controlling for a measure of absolute deprivation, is a mother's relative deprivation related to infant health and maternal health behavior? There are many limitations regarding our measures and methods, and we interpret our results only as associations. Using US 2001 Natality Detail data, we find that pregnant women of lower socioeconomic status relative to other expectant mothers in their Metropolitan Statistical Area give birth to very slightly lighter babies and are more likely to smoke. A back-of-the envelope calculation shows the magnitude of the association we observe between relative deprivation and birthweight is close to what medical studies would predict if the probability of prenatal tobacco use were to increase by the amount we estimate.

Suggested Citation

  • Lhila, Aparna & Simon, Kosali I., 2010. "Relative deprivation and child health in the USA," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(4), pages 777-785, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:71:y:2010:i:4:p:777-785
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sun, Yu & You, Wen, 2016. "Relative-deprivation effects on child health in China," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235926, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2017. "Costly Posturing: Ceremonies and Early Child Development in China," IZA Discussion Papers 10662, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-18-00066 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Cuesta, Maite Blázquez & Budría, Santiago, 2015. "Income deprivation and mental well-being: The role of non-cognitive skills," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 16-28.
    5. Miething, Alexander, 2013. "A matter of perception: Exploring the role of income satisfaction in the income–mortality relationship in German survey data 1995–2010," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 72-79.
    6. Maite Blázquez & Elena Cottini & Ainhoa Herrarte, 2014. "The socioeconomic gradient in health: how important is material deprivation?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 12(2), pages 239-264, June.
    7. Adjaye-Gbewonyo, Kafui & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2012. "Use of the Yitzhaki Index as a test of relative deprivation for health outcomes: A review of recent literature," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 129-137.
    8. Mishra, Sandeep & Carleton, R. Nicholas, 2015. "Subjective relative deprivation is associated with poorer physical and mental health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 144-149.
    9. Kuo, Chun-Tung & Chiang, Tung-liang, 2013. "The association between relative deprivation and self-rated health, depressive symptoms, and smoking behavior in Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 39-44.

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