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Debt and Health

Author

Listed:
  • Pamela Lenton

    ()

  • Paul Mosley

    () (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

Abstract

Debt problems in the UK have recently become much more severe, especially for the lowest income groups, and we examine here their impact on health, using data from the national Families´ and Children´s Survey (FACS). We model the relationship between debt and health as a simultaneous two-way interaction, and find that debt levels have a negative effect on both physical and psychological health. We find that debt repayment structure, defined as the percentage of debt borrowed in high-interest categories, has an impact on health independent of the level of debt. The interaction between debt and health may aggravate the poverty trap, by pushing heavily-indebted low-income people into ill-health, which then makes it difficult for them to acquire or hold on to the steady jobs needed to ease their debt problems. We also find that worry has a negative influence on debt management capacity, and thence on health, which makes it more difficult for those caught in a debt trap to escape from it. Membership of credit unions tends to reduce worry, however, and thereby may facilitate escape from the debt-ill health spiral.

Suggested Citation

  • Pamela Lenton & Paul Mosley, 2008. "Debt and Health," Working Papers 2008004, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2008004
    as

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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/content/1/c6/08/37/95/SERP2008004.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2008
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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/content/1/c6/08/37/95/SERP2008004.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, 2008
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Brown, Sarah & Taylor, Karl & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 2005. "Debt and distress: Evaluating the psychological cost of credit," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 642-663, October.
    2. Bridges, Sarah & Disney, Richard, 2010. "Debt and depression," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 388-403, May.
    3. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1978. "The Estimation of a Simultaneous Equation Generalized Probit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1193-1205, September.
    4. Bound, John & Schoenbaum, Michael & Stinebrickner, Todd R. & Waidmann, Timothy, 1999. "The dynamic effects of health on the labor force transitions of older workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 179-202, June.
    5. John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
    6. Sarah Bridges & Richard Disney, 2004. "Use of credit and arrears on debt among low-income families in the United Kingdom," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(1), pages 1-25, March.
    7. Richard Disney & Sarah Bridges & John Gathergood, "undated". "Housing Wealth and Household Indebtedness: Is there a Household ‘Financial Accelerator’?," Discussion Papers 06/01, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    8. Bartel, Ann & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "Some Economic and Demographic Consequences of Mental Illness," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 243-256, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Keese, 2010. "Who Feels Constrained by High Debt Burdens? – Subjective vs. Objective Measures of Household Indebtedness," Ruhr Economic Papers 0169, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Keese, Matthias, 2010. "Who Feels Constrained by High Debt Burdens? – Subjective vs. Objective Measures of Household Indebtedness," Ruhr Economic Papers 169, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Matthias Keese & Hendrik Schmitz, 2010. "Broke, Ill, and Obese: The Effect of Household Debt on Health," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 350, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Matthias Keese & Hendrik Schmitz, 2014. "Broke, Ill, and Obese: Is There an Effect of Household Debt on Health?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(3), pages 525-541, September.
    5. repec:zbw:rwirep:0234 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Matthias Keese & Hendrik Schmitz, 2010. "Broke, Ill, and Obese: The Effect of Household Debt on Health," Ruhr Economic Papers 0234, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    7. John Gathergood, "undated". "Debt and Depression: Evidence on Casual Links and Social Stigma Effects," Discussion Papers 11/10, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    8. Lawrence M. Berger & J. Michael Collins & Laura Cuesta, 2016. "Household Debt and Adult Depressive Symptoms in the United States," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 42-57, March.
    9. Tufan Ekici, 2016. "Subjective Financial Distress in the Formation of Consumer Confidence: Evidence from Novel Household Data," Bogazici Journal, Review of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 11-36.
    10. repec:zbw:rwirep:0169 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Debt; Health; Random effects ordered probit models;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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