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Self-Reported Health and Gender: the Role of Social Norms

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  • Caroli, Eve
  • Weber-Baghdiguian, Lexane

Abstract

We investigate the role of social norms in accounting for differences in self-reported health as reported by men and women. Using the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS, 2010), we first replicate the standard result that women report worse health than men, whatever the health outcome we consider – i.e. general self-assessed health, well-being but also more specific symptoms such as hearing problems, skin problems, backache, muscular pain in upper or lower limbs, headache and eyestrain, stomach ache, respiratory difficulties, depression and anxiety, fatigue and insomnia. We then proxy social norms by the gender structure of the workplace environment and study how the latter affects self-reported health for men and women separately. Our findings indicate that individuals in workplaces where women are a majority tend to report worse health than individuals employed in mixed-gender work environments, be they men or women. The opposite holds for individuals in workplaces where men are a majority: men tend to report fewer health problems than when employed in mixed-gender environments and the same goes for women – although the effects are not significant at conventional levels. These results are robust to controlling for a large array of working condition indicators, which allows us to rule out that the poorer health status reported by individuals working in female-dominated environments could be due to worse job quality. We interpret this evidence as suggesting that social norms associated with specific gender environments play an important role in explaining differences in health-reporting behaviours across sex, at least in the workplace.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroli, Eve & Weber-Baghdiguian, Lexane, 2015. "Self-Reported Health and Gender: the Role of Social Norms," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1517, CEPREMAP.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:1517
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    2. Sonja Spitzer & Daniela Weber, 2019. "Reporting biases in self-assessed physical and cognitive health status of older Europeans," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(10), pages 1-22, October.
    3. Quitterie Roquebert & Jonathan Sicsic & Thomas Rapp, 2021. "Health measures and long-term care use in the European frail population," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 22(3), pages 405-423, April.
    4. Lazarevič, Patrick & Brandt, Martina, 2020. "Diverging ideas of health? Comparing the basis of health ratings across gender, age, and country," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 267(C).
    5. Chris Muris & Pedro Raposo & Sotiris Vandoros, 2020. "A Dynamic Ordered Logit Model with Fixed Effects," Department of Economics Working Papers 2020-14, McMaster University.
    6. Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Munyanyi, Musharavati Ephraim & Prakash, Kushneel & Smyth, Russell, 2020. "Locus of control and the gender gap in mental health," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 740-758.
    7. Thomas Barnay & Éric Defebvre, 2018. "L’influence des conditions de travail passées sur la santé et la consommation de médicaments auto-déclarées des retraités," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(1), pages 61-84.
    8. Golo Henseke, 2018. "Good jobs, good pay, better health? The effects of job quality on health among older European workers," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 19(1), pages 59-73, January.
    9. Bellmann, Lutz & Hübler, Olaf, 2019. "Personal Attitudes, Job Characteristics and Health," IZA Discussion Papers 12597, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Virginie Comblon & Karine Marazyan, 2017. "Labor Supply Responses to Chronic Illness in Senegal," Working Papers 20170006, UMR Développement et Sociétés, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    health; gender; social norms; job quality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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