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The Income Gradient in Children's Health: A Comment on Currie, Shields and Wheatley Price

  • Anne Case
  • Diana Lee
  • Christina Paxson

This paper reexamines differences found between income gradients in American and English children's health, in results originally published by Case, Lubotsky and Paxson (2002) for the US, and by Currie, Shields and Wheatley Price (2007) for England. We find that, when the English sample is expanded by adding three years of data, and is compared to American data from the same time period, the income gradient in children's health increases with age by the same amount in the two countries. In addition, we find that Currie, Shields and Wheatley Price's measures of chronic conditions from the Health Survey of England were incorrectly coded. Using correctly coded data, we find that the effects of chronic conditions on health status are larger in the English sample than in the American sample, and that income plays a larger role in buffering children's health from the effects of chronic conditions in England. We find no evidence that the British National Health Service, with its focus on free services and equal access, prevents the association between health and income from becoming more pronounced as children grow older.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13495.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13495.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Publication status: published as Case, Anne & Lee, Diana & Paxson, Christina, 2008. "The income gradient in children's health: A comment on Currie, Shields and Wheatley Price," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 801-807, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13495
Note: CH HE HC
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. West, Patrick, 1997. "Health inequalities in the early years: Is there equalisation in youth?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 833-858, March.
  2. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient," Working Papers 262, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  3. 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.
  4. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
  5. West, Patrick & Sweeting, Helen, 2004. "Evidence on equalisation in health in youth from the West of Scotland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 13-27, July.
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