IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Where wealth matters more for health: The wealth–health gradient in 16 countries

  • Semyonov, Moshe
  • Lewin-Epstein, Noah
  • Maskileyson, Dina
Registered author(s):

    Researchers have long demonstrated that persons of high economic status are likely to be healthier than persons of low socioeconomic standing. Cross-national studies have also demonstrated that health of the population tends to increase with country's level of economic development and to decline with level of economic inequality. The present research utilizes data for 16 national samples (of populations fifty years of age and over) to examine whether the relationship between wealth and health at the individual-level is systematically associated with country's level of economic development and country's level of income inequality. The analysis reveals that in all countries rich persons tend to be healthier than poor persons. Furthermore, in all countries the positive association between wealth and health holds even after controlling for socio-demographic attributes and household income. Hierarchical regression analysis leads to two major conclusions: first, country's economic resources increase average health of the population but do not weaken the tie between wealth and health; second, a more equal distribution of economic resources (greater egalitarianism) does not raise health levels of the population but weakens the tie between wealth and health. The latter findings can be mostly attributed to the uniqueness of the US case. The findings and their significance are discussed in light of previous research and theory.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953613000312
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 81 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 10-17

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:81:y:2013:i:c:p:10-17
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description

    Order Information: Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional
    Web: http://www.elsevier.com/orderme/journalorderform.cws_home/315/journalorderform1/orderooc/id=654&ref=654_01_ooc_1&version=01

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Vincent A. Hildebrand, 2006. "The Wealth And Asset Holdings Of U.S.-Born And Foreign-Born Households: Evidence From Sipp Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(1), pages 17-42, 03.
    2. James P. Smith, 2003. "Consequences and Predictors of New Health Events," NBER Working Papers 10063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Michael Hurd & Arie Kapteyn, 2003. "Health, Wealth, and the Role of Institutions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
    4. Babones, Salvatore J., 2008. "Income inequality and population health: Correlation and causality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(7), pages 1614-1626, April.
    5. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & Bleichrodt, Han & Calonge, Samuel & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna & Hakkinen, Unto & Leu, Robert E., 1997. "Income-related inequalities in health: some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 93-112, February.
    6. Huisman, Martijn & Kunst, Anton E. & Mackenbach, Johan P., 2003. "Socioeconomic inequalities in morbidity among the elderly; a European overview," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(5), pages 861-873, September.
    7. Subramanian, S. V. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Kennedy, Bruce P., 2001. "Does the state you live in make a difference? Multilevel analysis of self-rated health in the US," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 9-19, July.
    8. John Wildman, 2001. "The impact of income inequality on individual and societal health: absolute income, relative income and statistical artefacts," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 357-361.
    9. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Sundquist, Jan & Johansson, Sven-Erik, 1997. "Indicators of socio-economic position and their relation to mortality in Sweden," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(12), pages 1757-1766, December.
    11. Laaksonen, Mikko & Tarkiainen, Lasse & Martikainen, Pekka, 2009. "Housing wealth and mortality: A register linkage study of the Finnish population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 754-760, September.
    12. Wildman, John, 2003. "Modelling health, income and income inequality: the impact of income inequality on health and health inequality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 521-538, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:81:y:2013:i:c:p:10-17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.