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Children's Health and the Family

  • Linda N. Edwards
  • Michael Grossman

The objective of this paper is to define the relationship between a number of family characteristics and the health of white children aged 6 to 11 years residing in those families. The partial effects of family income on health are1l and seldom statistically significant. Indeed, some health problems -- high blood pressure, allergies, and tension -- are more likely to occur among children from high income families. The general finding of small partial income effects is supported by analysis of gross health differences between children from lower and higher income families. In those cases where significant gross health difference. do exist between children from these two income classes, decomposition of these gross differences shows them to be attributable in large part to factors other than income itself. The finding that differences in health related solely to income are smaller than commonly believed implies that policies to improve the well-being of children via income transfers, such as those advocated by the recent Carnegie Council on Children, would have, at best, very small effects on health. Indeed, the most important conclusion of our study is that the present tendency to base government child health programs on simplistic notions that income is the primary source of differences in children's health will not lead towards fruitful or successful public policy regarding children's health.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0256.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0256.

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Date of creation: Jul 1978
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Publication status: published as Edwards, Linda N. and Michael Grossman. "Children's Health and the Family." Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research, edited by Richard M. Schettler, Vol. 2, Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press. (1981), pp. 35-84.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0256
Note: HE
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  1. Linda N. Edwards & Michael Grossman, 1980. "The Relationship Between Children's Health and Intellectual Development," NBER Working Papers 0213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Linda N. Edwards & Michael Grossman, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Children's Health and Intellectual Development," NBER Working Papers 0180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hu, Teh-Wei, 1973. "Effectiveness of child health and welfare programs: A simultaneous equations approach," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 705-721, December.
  4. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, August.
  5. Ishikawa, Tsuneo, 1975. "Family Structures and Family Values in the Theory of Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(5), pages 987-1008, October.
  6. Robert P. Inman, 1976. "The Family Provision of Children's Health: An Economic Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: The Role of Health Insurance in the Health Services Sector, pages 215-260 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ben-Porath, Yoram & Welch, Finis, 1976. "Do Sex Preferences Really Matter?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 285-307, May.
  8. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  9. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S14-64, Part II, .
  10. George W. Torrance, 1976. "Health Status Index Models: A Unified Mathematical View," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(9), pages 990-1001, May.
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