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Self-reported health: reliability and consequences for health inequality measurement

Author

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  • Philip M. Clarke
  • Chris Ryan

    (Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis and Research Centre, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Australia)

Abstract

Self-reported health (SRH) is one of the most frequently employed measures for assessing income-related health inequalities between counties. A previous study has shown that 28% of respondents changed their assessment of their health status when asked a SRH question on two occasions in the same survey (first as part of self-completed questionnaire and then in a personal interview). This study re-examines this issue using another survey where SRH was again asked twice of respondents, but this time the personal interview was first and self-completion second. We find the same variation in responses, but the predominant direction is away from the 'extreme' categories 'Excellent' and 'Poor' which is the opposite direction to the previous study. We therefore conclude that the most likely explanation is a mode of administration effect that makes people less likely to choose the extreme categories in a self-completion questionnaire, but not a personal interview. However, this effect has a relatively minor impact on measures of inequality. This is due to a large proportion of the movement (i.e. movement to the middle) not being related to income and hence does not systematically impact on the cumulative distribution of health across this measure of socio-economic status. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip M. Clarke & Chris Ryan, 2006. "Self-reported health: reliability and consequences for health inequality measurement," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 645-652.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:15:y:2006:i:6:p:645-652
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1089
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Gerdtham, Ulf-G., 2003. "Does inequality in self-assessed health predict inequality in survival by income? Evidence from Swedish data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(9), pages 1621-1629, November.
    2. 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.
    3. Doorslaer, Eddy van & Jones, Andrew M., 2003. "Inequalities in self-reported health: validation of a new approach to measurement," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 61-87, January.
    4. Eddy van Doorslaer & Xander Koolman, 2004. "Explaining the differences in income-related health inequalities across European countries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 609-628.
    5. Mark Wooden & Simon Freidin & Nicole Watson, 2002. "The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA)Survey: Wave 1," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(3), pages 339-348.
    6. Crossley, Thomas F. & Kennedy, Steven, 2002. "The reliability of self-assessed health status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 643-658, July.
    7. Kakwani, Nanak & Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1997. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health: Measurement, computation, and statistical inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 87-103, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kristian Bolin & Daniel Hedblom & Anna Lindgren & Bjorn Lindgren, 2010. "Asymmetric Information and the Demand for Voluntary Health Insurance in Europe," NBER Working Papers 15689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Shu-Hsi Ho, 2016. "A Study of Outpatient Utilization Between Widowers and Widows among the Elderly in Taiwan," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 6, pages 79-90, February.
    3. Nigel Kragten & Jesper Rözer, 2017. "The Income Inequality Hypothesis Revisited: Assessing the Hypothesis Using Four Methodological Approaches," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 1015-1033, April.
    4. Liam Delaney & Pat Wall & Fearghal O'hAodha, 2007. "Social Capital & Self-Rated Health in the Republic of Ireland. Evidence from the European Social Survey," Working Papers 200707, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    5. repec:spr:pharme:v:35:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s40273-017-0549-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/576 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Kajal Lahiri & Zulkarnain Pulungan, 2006. "Health Inequality and Its Determinants in New York," Discussion Papers 06-03, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    8. repec:eee:socmed:v:191:y:2017:i:c:p:9-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:lde:journl:y:2017:i:87:p:125-164 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2008. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self-assessed health in the demand for private health insurance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 317-334.
    11. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2013. "Information and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Cellular Phone Experiment," NBER Working Papers 19113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2006. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self-assessed health in the demand for private health insurance, CHERE Working Paper 2006/2," Working Papers 2006/2, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
    13. Liam Delaney & Patrick G. Wall & Fearghal O'hAodha, 2007. "Social capital and self-rated health in the Republic of Ireland : evidence from the European Social Survey," Open Access publications 10197/574, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    14. repec:col:000174:015710 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Yang, Qingqing & Rosenman, Robert, 2015. "Adjusting Self-Assessed Health for Potential Bias Using a Random-Effects Generalized Ordered Probit model," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205217, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    16. Lahiri, Kajal & Pulungan, Zulkarnain, 2007. "Income-related health disparity and its determinants in New York state: racial/ethnic and geographical comparisons," MPRA Paper 21694, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Alejandro Arrieta & Ariadna García Prado & Giota Panopoulou, 2012. "Enrolling the Self-Employed in Mandatory Health Insurance in Colombia: are we missing other factors?," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 1213, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.

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