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Inflated Responses in Measures of Self-Assessed Health

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  • William H. Greene
  • Mark N. Harris
  • Bruce Hollingsworth

Abstract

This paper focuses on the self-reported responses given to survey questions of the form “Overall, how would you rate your health?” with typical response items being on a scale ranging from poor to excellent. Usually, the overwhelming majority of responses fall in either the middle category or the one immediately to the “right” of this (for example, good and very good). However, based on a wide range of other medical indicators, such favorable responses appear to paint an overly rosy picture of true health. The hypothesis here is that these “middle” responses have been, in some sense, inflated. That is, for whatever reason, a significant number of responders inaccurately report into these categories. Our results do indeed suggest that such inflation is present in these categories. Adjusted responses to these questions could lead to significant changes in policy, and should be reflected upon when analyzing and interpreting these scales.
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  • William H. Greene & Mark N. Harris & Bruce Hollingsworth, 2014. "Inflated Responses in Measures of Self-Assessed Health," Working Papers 14-12, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:14-12
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    9. William Greene & Mark N. Harris & Bruce Hollingsworth & Rachel Knott & Nigel Rice, 2016. "Reporting heterogeneity effects in modelling self reports of health," Working Papers 16-12, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
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    11. Ferreira-Batista, Natalia N. & Postali, Fernando Antonio Slaibe & Diaz, Maria Dolores Montoya & Teixeira, Adriano Dutra & Moreno-Serra, Rodrigo, 2022. "The Brazilian Family Health Strategy and adult health: Evidence from individual and local data for metropolitan areas," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 46(C).
    12. Fumagalli, Elena & Fumagalli, Laura, 2022. "Subjective well-being and the gender composition of the reference group: Evidence from a survey experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 196-219.
    13. Black, Nicole & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A. & Suziedelyte, Agne, 2017. "Who provides inconsistent reports of their health status? The importance of age, cognitive ability and socioeconomic status," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 191(C), pages 9-18.
    14. Sarah Brown & Mark N. Harris & Preety Srivastava & Karl Taylor, 2018. "Mental Health and Reporting Bias: Analysis of the GHQ - 12," Working Papers 2018013, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
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    18. Sarah Brown & Mark N. Harris & Christopher Spencer, 2020. "Modelling Category Inflation with Multiple Inflation Processes: Estimation, Specification and Testing," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 82(6), pages 1342-1361, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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