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Is there an income gradient in child health? It depends whom you ask

Listed author(s):
  • Johnston, DW
  • Propper, C
  • Pudney, SE
  • Shields, MA

A large literature uses parental evaluations of child health status to provide evidence on the socioeconomic determinants of health. If how parents perceive health questions differs by income or education level, then estimates of the socioeconomic gradient are likely to be biased and potentially misleading. In this paper we examine this issue. We directly compare child mental health evaluations from parents, teachers, children and psychiatrists for mental health problems, test whether these differences are systematically related to observable child and parent characteristics, and examine the implications of the different reports for the estimated income gradient. We find that respondents frequently evaluate children differently and while the sign of the income gradient is in the same direction across respondents, systematic differences in evaluations mean that the estimated magnitude and significance of the health-income gradient is highly dependent upon the choice of respondent and the measure of child health.

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File URL: http://spiral.imperial.ac.uk/bitstream/10044/1/5283/1/Propper%202010-03.pdf
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Paper provided by Imperial College, London, Imperial College Business School in its series Working Papers with number 5283.

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Handle: RePEc:imp:wpaper:5283
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  1. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2007. "Vignettes and Self-Reports of Work Disability in the United States and the Netherlands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 461-473, March.
  2. Michael Baker & Mark Stabile & Catherine Deri, 2004. "What Do Self-Reported, Objective, Measures of Health Measure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
  3. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
  5. Johnston, David W. & Propper, Carol & Shields, Michael A., 2009. "Comparing subjective and objective measures of health: Evidence from hypertension for the income/health gradient," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 540-552, May.
  6. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Currie, Janet & Stabile, Mark, 2006. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1094-1118, November.
  8. Carol Propper & John Rigg & Simon Burgess, 2007. "Child health: evidence on the roles of family income and maternal mental health from a UK birth cohort," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(11), pages 1245-1269.
  9. Fletcher, Jason & Wolfe, Barbara, 2008. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD revisited," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 794-800, May.
  10. Fabrice Etilé & Carine Milcent, 2006. "Income-related reporting heterogeneity in self-assessed health: evidence from France," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(9), pages 965-981.
  11. Khanam, Rasheda & Nghiem, Hong Son & Connelly, Luke B., 2009. "Child health and the income gradient: Evidence from Australia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 805-817, July.
  12. Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Adolescent depression: diagnosis, treatment, and educational attainment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1215-1235.
  13. Simon Condliffe & Charles R. Link, 2008. "The Relationship between Economic Status and Child Health: Evidence from the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1605-1618, September.
  14. Jones, Andrew M. & Wildman, John, 2008. "Health, income and relative deprivation: Evidence from the BHPS," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 308-324, March.
  15. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," NBER Working Papers 8344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Currie, Alison & Shields, Michael A. & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 2007. "The child health/family income gradient: Evidence from England," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 213-232, March.
  17. Currie, Janet & Decker, Sandra & Lin, Wanchuan, 2008. "Has public health insurance for older children reduced disparities in access to care and health outcomes?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1567-1581, December.
  18. Murasko, Jason E., 2008. "An evaluation of the age-profile in the relationship between household income and the health of children in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1489-1502, December.
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