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On the empirical association between poor health and low socioeconomic status at old age

  • Christian Salas

    (Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, UK)

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    Epidemiologic studies using mortality rates as indicators of health fail to find any meaningful association between poor health and low socioeconomic status in older age-groups, whereas economic studies using self-assessed health consistently find a significant positive correlation, even after controlling for self-reporting errors. Such contradictory results have not been reported for working age individuals. A simple explanation might be that the elderly samples on which the epidemiologic and economic studies are based come from different populations. However, this paper shows that similar contradictory results are obtained even when the same samples are used, simply by switching between self-assessed health and mortality as health indicators. An alternative explanation is proposed, namely that these health indicators yield different results because they relate to different ranges of the latent health variable at old age. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 207-220

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:11:y:2002:i:3:p:207-220
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    1. Sickles, Robin C & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "An Analysis of the Health and Retirement Status of the Elderly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1339-56, November.
    2. Haynes, Robin, 1991. "Inequalities in health and health service use: Evidence from the general household survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 361-368, January.
    3. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    5. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
    6. Kenkel, D.S., 1989. "Should You Eat Breakfast? Estimates From Health Production Functions," Papers 9-90-8, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
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