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Income Inequality and Health Status in the United States: Evidence From the Current Population Survey

  • Jennifer Mellor
  • Jeffrey Milyo

    ()

Several recent studies have identified an association between income inequality and aggregate health outcomes; this has been taken to be evidence that inequality is detrimental to individual health. We use data from the 1995-99 March Current Population Survey to examine the effect of income inequality on individual health status for both the general population and those individuals in poverty. We find no consistent association between income inequality and individual health status. Our results contradict recent claims that the psychosocial effects of income inequality have dramatic consequences for individual health outcomes.

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File URL: http://ase.tufts.edu/econ/papers/9915.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Tufts University in its series Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University with number 9815.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:9815
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Web page: http://ase.tufts.edu/economics

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  1. Bidani, Benu & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Decomposing social indicators using distributional data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1487, The World Bank.
  2. Kawachi, Ichiro & Kennedy, Bruce P., 1997. "The relationship of income inequality to mortality: Does the choice of indicator matter?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1121-1127, October.
  3. Thomas A. Husted, 1991. "Changes In State Income Inequality From 1981 To 1987," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 21(3), pages 249-260, Fall.
  4. William Levernier & Dan S. Rickman & Mark D. Partridge, 1995. "Variation in U.S. State Income Inequality: 1960-1990," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 18(3), pages 355-378, July.
  5. Waldmann, Robert J, 1992. "Income Distribution and Infant Mortality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1283-302, November.
  6. Kahn, Henry S. & Tatham, Lilith M. & Pamuk, Elsie R. & Heath, Clark W., 1998. "Are geographic regions with high income inequality associated with risk of abdominal weight gain?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-6, July.
  7. 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.
  8. Jamie S. Partridge & Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman, 1998. "State Patterns In Family Income Inequality," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(3), pages 277-294, 07.
  9. 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.
  10. Lynch, J. W. & Kaplan, G. A. & Salonen, J. T., 1997. "Why do poor people behave poorly? Variation in adult health behaviours and psychosocial characteristics by stages of the socioeconomic lifecourse," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 809-819, March.
  11. Le Grand, Julian, 1987. "Inequalities in health : Some international comparisons," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 182-191.
  12. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & Bleichrodt, Han & Calonge, Samuel & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna & Hakkinen, Unto & Leu, Robert E., 1997. "Income-related inequalities in health: some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 93-112, February.
  13. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  14. Kennedy, Bruce P. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Prothrow-Stith, Deborah & Lochner, Kimberly & Gupta, Vanita, 1998. "Social capital, income inequality, and firearm violent crime," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 7-17, July.
  15. Butler, J S, et al, 1987. "Measurement Error in Self-reported Health Variables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 644-50, November.
  16. Appels, A. & Bosma, H. & Grabauskas, V. & Gostautas, A. & Sturmans, F., 1996. "Self-rated health and mortality in a Lithuanian and a Dutch population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 681-689, March.
  17. Timothy Waidmann & John Bound & Michael Schoenbaum, 1995. "The Illusion of Failure: Trends in the Self-Reported Health of the U.S. Elderly," NBER Working Papers 5017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
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