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Gender and regional differences in self-rated health in Europe

This paper shows that gender and regional differences in self-rated health in Europe are partly explained by differences in the prevalence of the various conditions. However, a non-negligible part of these differences is due to other causes, which may include differences in reporting own health. We employ the tool of “anchoring vignettes” to understand whether and how women and men living in different regions differently report levels in a number of health components or domains. We find that vignettes help identifying gender and regional differences in response scales. After controlling for these differences, both gender and regional variation in reported health is substantially reduced, although not entirely eliminated. Our results suggest that differences in response style should be taken into account when using self-assessment of health in socio-economic studies. Failing to do so may lead to misleading conclusions.

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Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 142.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 30 Sep 2009
Date of revision: 30 Sep 2009
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:142
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Order Information: Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
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  1. Arthur van Soest & Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon & Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith, 2007. "Validating the Use of Vignettes for Subjective Threshold Scales," Working Papers 501, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  2. Claudio Rossetti, 2009. "Ordered probit models with anchoring vignette," Italian Stata Users' Group Meetings 2008 02, Stata Users Group.
  3. Lindeboom, Maarten & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2004. "Cut-Point Shift and Index Shift in Self-Reported Health," IZA Discussion Papers 1286, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Kapteyn, A. & Smith, J.P. & van Soest, A.H.O., 2007. "Vignettes and self-reports of work disability in the United States and the Netherlands," Other publications TiSEM 17902a1e-7cbb-4f3f-a772-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  5. Anne C. Case & Christina Paxson, 2004. "Sex Differences in Morbidity and Mortality," NBER Working Papers 10653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hendrik Jürges, 2007. "True health vs response styles: exploring cross-country differences in self-reported health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 163-178.
  7. Teresa Bago d’Uva & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Maarten Lindeboom & Owen O’Donnell & Somnath Chatterji, 2006. "Does reporting heterogeneity bias the measurement of health disparities?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 06/03, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
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