Assessing Self-Assessed Health Data
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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