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The SES Health Gradient on Both Sides of the Atlantic

Author

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  • James Banks
  • Michael Marmot
  • Zoë Oldfield
  • James P. Smith

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the size of health differences that exist among men in England and the United States and how those differences vary by Socio Economic Status (SES) in both countries. Across a wide variety of diagnosed diseases, average health status among mature men is much worse in America compared to England. A steep negative health gradient exists for men in both countries. This social health gradient is present whether education, income, or financial wealth is used as the marker of SES and, in addition, appears to be steeper in the United States. These conclusions are maintained even after controlling for a standard set of behavioral risk factors such as smoking, drinking, and obesity and are equally true using either biological measures of disease or individual self reports. In contrast to these disease based measures of health, the health of American men appears to be superior to the health of English men when self reported subjective general health status is used as the measure of health status. This apparent contradiction does not result from differences in co morbidity, emotional health, or ability to function, all of which still point to mature American men being less healthy than their English counterparts. Finally, we present preliminary data that indicate that feedbacks from new health events to household income are also one of the reasons that underlie the strength of the income gradient in health.

Suggested Citation

  • James Banks & Michael Marmot & Zoë Oldfield & James P. Smith, 2007. "The SES Health Gradient on Both Sides of the Atlantic," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 175, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:175
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    File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/sedap/p/sedap175.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Banks & Richard Blundell & James P. Smith, 2003. "Understanding Differences in Household Financial Wealth between the United States and Great Britain," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
    2. James Smith, 2004. "Unravelling the SES health connection," IFS Working Papers W04/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2005. "Self-reported Work Disability in the US and The Netherlands," Labor and Demography 0504006, EconWPA.
    4. Michael Hurd & F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2003. "Enhancing the Quality of Data on Income: Recent Innovations from the HRS," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
    5. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur Van Soest, 2004. "Self-reported Work Disability in the US and The Netherlands," Working Papers 206, RAND Corporation.
    6. 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.
    7. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur Van Soest, 2004. "Self-reported Work Disability in the US and The Netherlands," Working Papers WR-206, RAND Corporation.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Science, ego and power
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-11-02 18:49:36

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney & Tom Vogl, 2008. "Socioeconomic Status and Health: Dimensions and Mechanisms," NBER Working Papers 14333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Rambotti, Simone, 2015. "Recalibrating the spirit level: An analysis of the interaction of income inequality and poverty and its effect on health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 123-131.
    3. Oswald, Andrew J & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2007. "Obesity, Unhappiness, and The Challenge of Affluence : Theory and Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 793, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Emma Tominey, 2007. "Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy and Early Child Outcomes," CEP Discussion Papers dp0828, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. ZHONG, Hai, 2015. "An over time analysis on the mechanisms behind the education–health gradients in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 135-149.
    6. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Bert Van Landeghem, 2009. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 528-538, 04-05.
    7. Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez & Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2015. "Risky Health Behaviors: Evidence for an Emerging Economy," Borradores de Economia 891, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    8. Mikael Svensson, 2010. "Economic upturns are good for your heart but watch out for accidents: a study on Swedish regional data 1976-2005," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(5), pages 615-625.
    9. Kajal Lahiri & Zulkarnain Pulungan, 2006. "Health Inequality and Its Determinants in New York," Discussion Papers 06-03, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    10. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Kleinjans, Kristin J. & Larsen, Mona, 2011. "The Effect of an Acute Health Shock on Work Behavior: Evidence from Different Health Care Regimes," IZA Discussion Papers 5843, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Majo, M.C., 2010. "A microeconometric analysis of health care utilization in Europe," Other publications TiSEM 1cf5fd2f-8146-4ef8-8eb5-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    12. Michael Lokshin & Martin Ravallion, 2008. "Testing for an economic gradient in health status using subjective data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1237-1259.
    13. van Kippersluis, Hans & O'Donnell, Owen & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Van Ourti, Tom, 2010. "Socioeconomic differences in health over the life cycle in an Egalitarian country," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 428-438, February.
    14. Ciro Avitabile & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2008. "Screening Tests, Information, and the Health-Education Gradient," CSEF Working Papers 187, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 28 Apr 2008.
    15. Majo, Maria Cristina & van Soest, Arthur, 2012. "Income and health care utilization among the 50+ in Europe and the US," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 28(4), pages 3-22.
    16. Damon Clark & Heather Royer, 2010. "The Effect of Education on Adult Health and Mortality: Evidence from Britain," NBER Working Papers 16013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Kapteyn, Arie & Wah, Saw Htay, 2016. "Challenges to small and medium-size businesses in Myanmar: What are they and how do we know?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-22.
    18. Stefan Hupfeld, 2011. "Non-monotonicity in the longevity–income relationship," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 191-211, January.
    19. Lahiri, Kajal & Pulungan, Zulkarnain, 2007. "Income-related health disparity and its determinants in New York state: racial/ethnic and geographical comparisons," MPRA Paper 21694, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Kleinjans, Kristin J. & Larsen, Mona, 2015. "The effect of a severe health shock on work behavior: Evidence from different health care regimes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 136, pages 44-51.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    SES-Health differences;

    JEL classification:

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

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