IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mos/moswps/2016-43.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Language, Health Outcomes and Health Inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Haining Wang
  • Zhiming Cheng
  • Russell Smyth

Abstract

We examine the health returns to proficiency in Mandarin in urban China using longitudinal data from the China Family Panel Studies. We find that greater proficiency in Mandarin improves self-reported health, mental health and capacity to perform activities of daily living. While we find that Mandarin proficiency increases incidence of chronic disease, Mandarin proficiency lagged two years is associated with reduced incidence of chronic disease. We also examine the relationship between Mandarin proficiency and health inequality and find that differences in Mandarin proficiency contribute to inequalities in health outcomes at the community level, district level and within a gender-age-education defined reference group. The decomposition results show that differences in Mandarin proficiency account for between 12 per cent and 28 per cent of health inequality, depending on the health indicator. Our results suggest that promoting ‘standard Mandarin’ can serve as a vehicle to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Haining Wang & Zhiming Cheng & Russell Smyth, 2016. "Language, Health Outcomes and Health Inequality," Monash Economics Working Papers 43-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2016-43
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/926215/4316languagewangchengsmyth.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2016. "Language and consumption," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 135-151.
    2. Zhang, Xiaobo & Kanbur, Ravi, 2005. "Spatial inequality in education and health care in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 189-204.
    3. Giorgio Brunello & Margherita Fort & Nicole Schneeweis & Rudolf Winter‐Ebmer, 2016. "The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 314-336, March.
    4. Yuanyuan Gong & Irene Chow & David Ahlstrom, 2011. "Cultural diversity in China: Dialect, job embeddedness, and turnover," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 221-238, June.
    5. Erreygers, Guido, 2009. "Correcting the Concentration Index: A reply to Wagstaff," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 521-524, March.
    6. 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).
    7. KNIGHT, John & SONG, Lina & GUNATILAKA, Ramani, 2009. "Subjective well-being and its determinants in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 635-649, December.
    8. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2010. "How much does money really matter? Estimating the causal effects of income on happiness," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 77-92, August.
    9. Cahit Guven & Asadul Islam, 2015. "Age at Migration, Language Proficiency, and Socioeconomic Outcomes: Evidence From Australia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(2), pages 513-542, April.
    10. Alan Duncan & Astghik Mavisakalyan, 2015. "Russian language skills and employment in the Former Soviet Union," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 23(3), pages 625-656, July.
    11. Ott Toomet, 2011. "Learn English, Not the Local Language! Ethnic Russians in the Baltic States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 526-531, May.
    12. Barry Chiswick & Paul Miller, 2010. "Occupational language requirements and the value of English in the US labor market," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(1), pages 353-372, January.
    13. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Watanabe, Naoko, 2003. "On decomposing the causes of health sector inequalities with an application to malnutrition inequalities in Vietnam," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 207-223, January.
    14. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2003. "The complementarity of language and other human capital: immigrant earnings in Canada," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 469-480, October.
    15. Amelie F. Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2008. "Measuring Ethnic Identity and its Impact on Economic Behavior," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 424-433, 04-05.
    16. Humphries, Karin H. & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2000. "Income-related health inequality in Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 663-671, March.
    17. Barry Chiswick & Paul Miller, 2001. "A model of destination-language acquisition: Application to male immigrants in Canada," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(3), pages 391-409, August.
    18. Clarke, Andrew & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Language Barriers and Immigrant Health Production," IZA Discussion Papers 8846, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Albert Saiz & Elena Zoido, 2005. "Listening to What the World Says: Bilingualism and Earnings in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 523-538, August.
    20. World Bank, 2016. "World Development Indicators 2016," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 23969, June.
    21. Takashi Oshio & Kayo Nozaki & Miki Kobayashi, 2011. "Relative Income and Happiness in Asia: Evidence from Nationwide Surveys in China, Japan, and Korea," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 104(3), pages 351-367, December.
    22. repec:ran:wpaper:774 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Halleröd, Björn & Gustafsson, Jan-Eric, 2011. "A longitudinal analysis of the relationship between changes in socio-economic status and changes in health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 116-123, January.
    24. Victor A. Ginsburgh & Juan Prieto-Rodriguez, 2011. "Returns to Foreign Languages of Native Workers in the European Union," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(3), pages 599-618, April.
    25. Chiswick, Barry R. & Wang, Zhiling, 2016. "Social Contacts, Dutch Language Proficiency and Immigrant Economic Performance in the Netherlands: A Longitudinal Study," IZA Discussion Papers 9760, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    26. Fischer, Justina AV, 2010. "Accounting for Unobserved Country Heterogeneity in Happiness Research: Country Fixed Effects versus Region Fixed Effects," MPRA Paper 22272, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    27. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    28. Yip, Winnie & Subramanian, S.V. & Mitchell, Andrew D. & Lee, Dominic T.S. & Wang, Jian & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2007. "Does social capital enhance health and well-being? Evidence from rural China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 35-49, January.
    29. Lebrun, Lydie A., 2012. "Effects of length of stay and language proficiency on health care experiences among Immigrants in Canada and the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1062-1072.
    30. Oriol Aspachs-Bracons & Irma Clots-Figueras & Joan Costa-Font & Paolo Masella, 2008. "Compulsory Language Educational Policies and Identity Formation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 434-444, 04-05.
    31. Nobles, Jenna & Weintraub, Miranda Ritterman & Adler, Nancy E., 2013. "Subjective socioeconomic status and health: Relationships reconsidered," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 58-66.
    32. Erreygers, Guido, 2009. "Correcting the Concentration Index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 504-515, March.
    33. von dem Knesebeck, Olaf & Verde, Pablo E. & Dragano, Nico, 2006. "Education and health in 22 European countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(5), pages 1344-1351, September.
    34. Strauss, John & Lei, Xiaoyan & Park, Albert & Shen, Yan & Smith, James P. & Yang, Zhe & Zhao, Yaohui, 2010. "Health Outcomes and Socio-Economic Status among the Elderly in China: Evidence from the CHARLS Pilot," IZA Discussion Papers 5152, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    35. Weixiang Luo & Yu Xie, 2014. "Socio-economic disparities in mortality among the elderly in China," Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 68(3), pages 305-320, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Haining & Smyth, Russell & Cheng, Zhiming, 2017. "The economic returns to proficiency in English in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 91-104.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2019. "Health outcomes, health inequality and Mandarin proficiency in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-1.
    2. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2016. "Language and consumption," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 135-151.
    3. Wang, Haining & Smyth, Russell & Cheng, Zhiming, 2017. "The economic returns to proficiency in English in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 91-104.
    4. Antonio Di Paolo & Aysit Tansel, 2015. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(4), pages 407-421, April.
    5. Jacek Liwiński, 2019. "The wage premium from foreign language skills," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 691-711, November.
    6. Sorrenti, Giuseppe, 2017. "The Spanish or the German apartment? Study abroad and the acquisition of permanent skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 142-158.
    7. Han Yu, 2020. "Income Comparison and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Self-Perceived Relative Income Data from China," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 636-672, October.
    8. Baeten, Steef & Van Ourti, Tom & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2013. "Rising inequalities in income and health in China: Who is left behind?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1214-1229.
    9. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2015. "Does consuming more make you happier? Evidence from Chinese panel data," BOFIT Discussion Papers 21/2015, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    10. Han Yu, 0. "Income Comparison and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Self-Perceived Relative Income Data from China," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 0, pages 1-37.
    11. Martin Siegel & Karl Mosler, 2014. "Semiparametric Modeling Of Age‐Specific Variations In Income Related Health Inequalities," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(7), pages 870-878, July.
    12. Stöhr, Tobias, 2015. "The returns to occupational foreign language use: Evidence from Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 86-98.
    13. Nesson, Erik T. & Robinson, Joshua J., 2019. "On the measurement of health and its effect on the measurement of health inequality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 207-221.
    14. Hajizadeh, Mohammad & Hu, Min & Bombay, Amy & Asada, Yukiko, 2018. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health among Indigenous peoples living off-reserve in Canada: Trends and determinants," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 122(8), pages 854-865.
    15. Peng Nie & Andrew E. Clarck & Conchita D'Ambrosio & Lanlin Ding, 2020. "Income-related health inequality in urban China (1991-2015): The role of homeownership and housing conditions," Working Papers 524, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    16. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 2018. "Do native-born bilinguals in the US earn more?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 563-583, September.
    17. Clarke, Philip & Van Ourti, Tom, 2010. "Calculating the concentration index when income is grouped," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 151-157, January.
    18. Guido Erreygers & Roselinde Kessels & Linkun Chen & Philip Clarke, 2016. "Decomposing Socioeconomic Inequality of Health," EcoMod2016 9574, EcoMod.
    19. García-Gómez, Pilar & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Jiménez-Rubio, Dolores & Oliva-Moreno, Juan, 2015. "Inequity in long-term care use and unmet need: Two sides of the same coin," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 147-158.
    20. Francesco Renna & Vasilios D. Kosteas & Kuchibhotla Dinkar, 2021. "Inequality in health insurance coverage before and after the Affordable Care Act," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 384-402, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; Mandarin proficiency; health outcomes; health inequalities; human capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2016-43. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Simon Angus). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dxmonau.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.