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Assessing Self-Assessed Health Data

  • Namkee Ahn
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    With the arrival of several micro surveys which include self-assessed health status data, many studies have used these data to examine the determinants of health status and the effects of health status on broad areas of human behavior. Given the subjectivity and possible measurement errors imbedded in self-assessed health data, we consider the reliability and usefulness of this type of data. A main conclusion is that cross-country or cross-region health comparisons based on self-assessed data are extremely unreliable due to the predominant effect of culture and social environment. Even within a same population, two surveys carried out in a similar time period with only slight differences in survey design produce significantly different health status outcome. On the other hand, education level, along with age, appears to affect persistently individual health status across country.

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    File URL: http://documentos.fedea.net/pubs/dt/2002/dt-2002-24.pdf
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    Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2002-24.

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    Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2002-24
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.fedea.net

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    1. Vicki Freedman & Linda Martin, 1999. "The role of education in explaining and forecasting trends in functional limitations among older Americans," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 461-473, November.
    2. William D. Nordhaus, 2002. "The Health of Nations: The Contribution of Improved Health to Living Standards," NBER Working Papers 8818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Franco Peracchi, 2002. "The European Community Household Panel: A review," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90.
    4. 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.
    5. Debra S. Dwyer & Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Health Problems as Determinants of Retirement: Are Self-Rated Measures Endogenous?," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-7, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    6. Timothy Waidmann & John Bound & Michael Schoenbaum, 1995. "The Illusion of Failure: Trends in the Self-Reported Health of the U.S. Elderly," NBER Working Papers 5017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Elo, Irma T. & Preston, Samuel H., 1996. "Educational differentials in mortality: United States, 1979-1985," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 47-57, January.
    8. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    9. John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
    10. 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.
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