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Relative Income, Race, and Mortality

  • Douglas Miller

    (University of California at Berkeley)

  • Christina Paxson

    (Princeton University)

The topic of this paper is the relationship between relative income and health. We examine whether people whose incomes are high relative to others who live in the same geographic area have lower or higher mortality. This analysis holds own income fixed, so the question is not only whether own income matters for health, but also whether the incomes of others affects health given own income. It is well-established that wealthier individuals are healthier and live longer (see Sorlie et.al. (1995) and Elo and Preston (1996), and the review in Adler et.al. (1994)). The proposition that relative income affects health is more controversial. Although there are reasons why there could be health benefits from having wealthier neighbors, a growing body of literature argues that low relative income is a health hazard. This proposition runs counter to the Pareto principle and, if correct, could have very unorthodox implications for economic policy.

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File URL: http://wws-roxen.princeton.edu/chwpapers/papers/relativeincome.pdf
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 269.

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Date of creation: Jul 2001
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Handle: RePEc:pri:cheawb:relativeincome
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  1. Lawrence Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & B. Jeffrey Liebman & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2004. "Moving to Opportunity and Tranquility: Neighborhood Effects on Adult Economic Self-Sufficiency and Health From a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," Working Papers 860, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 2002. "Income Inequality and Health Status in the United States: Evidence from the Current Population Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(3), pages 510-539.
  3. Deaton, A., 2001. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Papers 200, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  4. Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey D. Milyo, 2001. "Income inequality and health," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 151-155.
  5. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2004. "Moving To Opportunity And Tranquility: Neighborhood Effects On Adult Economic Self-Sufficiency And Health From A Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," Working Papers 247, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  6. Jonathan Skinner & Douglas Staiger, 2007. "Technology Adoption from Hybrid Corn to Beta-Blockers," NBER Chapters, in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 545-570 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  8. Christine Eibner & William N. Evans, 2005. "Relative Deprivation, Poor Health Habits, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
  9. Deaton, Angus & Lubotsky, Darren, 2003. "Mortality, inequality and race in American cities and states," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1139-1153, March.
  10. Michael Ash & T. Robert Fetter, 2004. "Who Lives on the Wrong Side of the Environmental Tracks? Evidence from the EPA's Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators Model," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 85(2), pages 441-462.
  11. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1999. "Mortality, Education, Income, and Inequality among American Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 7140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Soobader, Mah-Jabeen & LeClere, Felicia B., 1999. "Aggregation and the measurement of income inequality: effects on morbidity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 733-744, March.
  13. Powell, James L. & Stoker, Thomas M., 1985. "The estimation of complete aggregation structures," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 317-344.
  14. Ulf-G. Gerdtham & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Absolute Income, Relative Income, Income Inequality, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  15. Elo, Irma T. & Preston, Samuel H., 1996. "Educational differentials in mortality: United States, 1979-1985," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 47-57, January.
  16. Amitabh Chandra & Jonathan Skinner, 2003. "Geography and Racial Health Disparities," NBER Working Papers 9513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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