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Socioeconomic Influence on the Health of Older People: Estimates Based on Two Longitudinal Surveys


  • Neil J. Buckley
  • Frank T. Denton
  • A. Leslie Robb
  • Byron G. Spencer


There is a strong positive relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and health, but identifying the direction of causation is difficult. This study exploits the longitudinal nature of two Canadian surveys, the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics and the National Population Health Survey, to study the link from SES to health. For people aged 50 and older who are initially in good health we examine whether changes in health status over the next two to four years are related to prior SES, as represented by income and education. Although the two surveys were designed for quite different purposes the evidence they yield with respect to the probability of remaining in good health is strikingly similar. Both suggest that SES does play a role, that the differences across SES groups are quantitatively significant, that the differences increase with age, and that they are much same for men and women.

Suggested Citation

  • Neil J. Buckley & Frank T. Denton & A. Leslie Robb & Byron G. Spencer, 2003. "Socioeconomic Influence on the Health of Older People: Estimates Based on Two Longitudinal Surveys," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 387, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:qseprr:387

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Buckley, Neil J. & Denton, Frank T. & Leslie Robb, A. & Spencer, Byron G., 2004. "The transition from good to poor health: an econometric study of the older population," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 1013-1034, September.
    2. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters,in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Meer, Jonathan & Miller, Douglas L. & Rosen, Harvey S., 2003. "Exploring the health-wealth nexus," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 713-730, September.
    4. 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.
    5. Robert W. Fogel & Chulhee Lee, 2003. "Who Gets Health Care?," NBER Working Papers 9870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Van Ourti, Tom, 2003. "Socio-economic inequality in ill-health amongst the elderly: Should one use current or permanent income?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 219-241, March.
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    More about this item


    health; socioeconomic status; SLID; NPHS;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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