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Demographic and Economic Correlates of Health in Old Age

Author

Listed:
  • James P. Smith

    (RAND)

  • Raynard Kington

    (UCLA & RAND)

Abstract

In this paper we examine disparities in the ability to function among older Americans. We place special emphasis on two goals: (1) understanding the quantitatively large socioeconomic status-health gradient, and (2) the persistence in health outcomes over long periods. We find that there exist strong contemporaneous and long-run feedbacks from health to economic status. In light of these feedbacks, it is important to distinguish among alternative sources of income and the recipient of income in the household. This research also demonstrates that health outcomes at old age are influenced by health attributes of past, concurrent, and future generations of relatives. Finally, we find that the demographic and economic differences that exist among them explain functional health disparities by race and ethnicity, but not by gender.

Suggested Citation

  • James P. Smith & Raynard Kington, 2004. "Demographic and Economic Correlates of Health in Old Age," Labor and Demography 0408008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0408008
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 12. Demography, Vol. 34, No. 1, February 1997, pp. 159-170
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James P. Smith, 1995. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages 158-183.
    2. Kington, R. & Lillard, L. & Rogowski, J., 1997. "Reproductive history, socioeconomic status, and self-reported health status of women aged 50 years or older," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 87(1), pages 33-37.
    3. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, January-J.
    4. Lichtenstein, Paul & Harris, Jennifer R. & Pedersen, Nancy L. & McClearn, G.E., 1993. "Socioeconomic status and physical health, how are they related? An empirical study based on twins reared apart and twins reared together," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 441-450, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics

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