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What is Health? A Multiple Correspondence Health Index


  • Jennifer L Kohn

    () (Department of Economics and Business Studies, Drew University, 301 Lewis House, Madison, NJ 07940, USA.)


This paper illustrates a health index that uses multiple correspondence analysis to reduce multiple discrete indicators to a continuous variable using minimal modeling assumptions. The continuous index enables fixed effects estimators when health is the dependent variable, and it exhibits more variation than self-assessed health (SAH) to support identification when health is an independent variable. I compute this index for 18 waves of the British Household Panel Survey, describe its features, and compare its use to SAH. The index performs better in dynamic models of health and subsumes the explanatory power of SAH in wage equations.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer L Kohn, 2012. "What is Health? A Multiple Correspondence Health Index," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 223-250.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:easeco:v:38:y:2012:i:2:p:223-250

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:eujhec:v:19:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10198-017-0884-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Susan Averett & Sarah Estelle, 2014. "Will daughters walk mom’s talk? The effects of maternal communication about sex on the sexual behavior of female adolescents," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 613-639, December.
    3. Susan L Averett & Laura M Argys & Jennifer C Kohn, 2014. "Friends with Health Benefits: Does Individual-level Social Capital Improve Health?," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 181-201, March.
    4. Susan Averett & Laura Argys & Julia Sorkin, 2013. "In sickness and in health: an examination of relationship status and health using data from the Canadian National Public Health Survey," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 599-633, December.
    5. Cinzia Di Novi & Anna Marenzi & Dino Rizzi, 2018. "Do healthcare tax credits help poor-health individuals on low incomes?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 19(2), pages 293-307, March.
    6. Harris, Matthew & Kohn, Jennifer, 2015. "Reference dependent utility from health and the demand for medical care," MPRA Paper 61926, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:spr:eujhec:v:18:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10198-016-0806-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. M. Azhar Hussain & Mette Møller Jørgensen & Lars Peter Østerdal, 2016. "Refining Population Health Comparisons: A Multidimensional First Order Dominance Approach," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(2), pages 739-759, November.
    9. Averett, Susan L. & Estelle, Sarah M., 2012. "Is it Necessary to Walk the Talk? The Effects of Maternal Experiences and Communication on the Sexual Behavior of Female Adolescents," IZA Discussion Papers 6586, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Jennifer Kohn & Susan Averett, 2014. "Can’t We Just Live Together? New Evidence on the Effect of Relationship Status on Health," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 295-312, September.
    11. Kohn, Jennifer L. & Averett, Susan L., 2014. "The effect of relationship status on health with dynamic health and persistent relationships," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 69-83.

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