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The role of permanent income and family structure in the determination of child health in Canada


  • Lori J. Curtis

    (Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

  • Martin D. Dooley

    (Department of Economics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

  • Ellen L. Lipman

    (Department of Psychiatry, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

  • David H. Feeny

    (Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)


We use data from the Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS) to provide the first Canadian estimates of how the empirical association between child health and both low-income and family status (lone-mother versus two-parent) changes when we re-estimate the model with pooled data. Two waves of data provide a better indication of the family's long-run level of economic resources than does one wave. Our measures of health status include categorical indicators and the health utility score derived from the Health Utilities Index Mark 2 (HUI2) system. Consistent with findings from other countries, we find that most outcomes are more strongly related to low-average income (in 1982 and 1986) than to low-current income in either year. Unlike some previous research, we find the quantitative impact of low-income on child health to be modest to large. Lone-mother status is negatively associated with most outcomes, but the lone-mother coefficients did not change significantly when we switched from low-current income to low-average income. This implies that the lone-mother coefficient in single cross-sections is not just a proxy for low-permanent income. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Lori J. Curtis & Martin D. Dooley & Ellen L. Lipman & David H. Feeny, 2001. "The role of permanent income and family structure in the determination of child health in Canada," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 287-302.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:10:y:2001:i:4:p:287-302
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.591

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yen-ju Lin & Bradley Chen & Tsai-Ching Liu & Chin-Shyan Chen, 2012. "The Impact of Family Structure on Utilization of Preventive Care Services among Children under National Health Insurance in Taiwan," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 453-463, December.
    2. Kelly Chen & Lars Osberg & Shelley Phipps, 2015. "Inter-generational effects of disability benefits: evidence from Canadian social assistance programs," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 873-910, October.
    3. Murasko, Jason E., 2008. "An evaluation of the age-profile in the relationship between household income and the health of children in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1489-1502, December.
    4. Luis Rajmil & Michael Herdman & Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer & Michael Erhart & Jordi Alonso, 2014. "Socioeconomic inequalities in mental health and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children and adolescents from 11 European countries," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 59(1), pages 95-105, February.
    5. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
    6. Contoyannis, Paul & Li, Jinhu, 2011. "The evolution of health outcomes from childhood to adolescence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 11-32, January.
    7. Thomas F. Crossley & Lori J. Curtis, 2006. "Child Poverty In Canada," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(2), pages 237-260, June.
    8. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2002. "Socioeconomic Status and Health: Why is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," NBER Working Papers 9098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Weitoft, Gunilla Ringbäck & Hjern, Anders & Batljan, Ilija & Vinnerljung, Bo, 2008. "Health and social outcomes among children in low-income families and families receiving social assistance--A Swedish national cohort study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 14-30, January.
    10. Jacob Nielsen Arendt, 2012. "The Demand for Health Care by the Poor under Universal Health Care Coverage," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 316-335.

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