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Child Health and the Income Gradient: Evidence from China

  • Chen, Yi


    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Lei, Xiaoyan


    (Peking University)

  • Zhou, Li-An


    (Peking University)

Though the positive income gradient of child health is well documented in developed countries, evidence from developing countries is rare. Few studies attempt to identify a causal link between family income and child health. Utilizing unique longitudinal data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, we have found a positive, age-enhancing income gradient of child health, measured by height-for-age z scores. The gradient is robust to alternative specifications and a comprehensive set of controls. Using the fact that the rural tax reform implemented since 2000 created an exogenous variation in family income across regions and over time, we explore a causal explanation for the income gradient, and find that it has a very strong independent causal effect on child health.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5182.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5182
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  1. Karen Eggleston & Li Ling & Meng Qingyue & Magnus Lindelow & Adam Wagstaff, 2008. "Health service delivery in China: a literature review," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 149-165.
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  6. Kathleen Beegle & Rajeev Dehejia & Roberta Gatti, 2009. "Why Should We Care About Child Labor?: The Education, Labor Market, and Health Consequences of Child Labor," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
  7. Yuyu Chen & Hongbin Li, 2006. "Mother's Education and Child Health: Is There a Nurturing Effect?," Discussion Papers 00021, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Himaz, Rozana, 2008. "Welfare Grants and Their Impact on Child Health: The Case of Sri Lanka," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1843-1857, October.
  10. Sato, Hiroshi & Li, Shi & Yue, Ximing, 2006. "The Redistributive Impact of Taxation in Rural China, 1995-2002: an Empirical Study Using the 1995-2002 CASS CHIP Surveys," Discussion Papers 2006-10, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  11. Mangyo, Eiji, 2008. "The effect of water accessibility on child health in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1343-1356, September.
  12. 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 1605-18, September.
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  14. Owen A O'Donnell & Furio C. Rosati & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2004. "Health Effects of Child Work: Evidence from Rural Vietnam," CEIS Research Paper 53, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
  15. Chen, Yuyu & Li, Hongbin, 2009. "Mother's education and child health: Is there a nurturing effect?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 413-426, March.
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