Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1096390
 
 

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Influence of Socioeconomic Status, Wealth and Financial Empowerment on Gender Differences in Health and Healthcare Utilization in Later Life: Evidence from India


Kakoli Roy


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Anoshua Chaudhuri


San Francisco State University; Department of Economics


Social Science and Medicine, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Empirical studies from developed countries observe that women report worse health and higher healthcare utilization than men, but the health disadvantage diminishes with age; gender differences in self-rated health often vanish or are reversed in older ages. Comparable assessments of health during later life from developing countries are limited because of lack of large-scale surveys that include older women. Our study attempts to address the shortage of developing country studies by examining gender differences in health and healthcare utilization among older adults in India. Both ordered and binary logit specifications were used to assess significant gender differences in subjective and objective health, and healthcare utilization after controlling for demographics, medical conditions, traditional indicators of socioeconomic status like education and income, and additional wealth indicators. The wealth indicators, measured by property ownership and economic independence, are regarded as financially empowering older adults to exercise greater control over their health and well-being. Data are drawn from a nationally representative decennial socioeconomic and health survey of 120,942 Indian households conducted during 1995-1996. Study sample comprises 34,086 older men and women aged 26,560 years. Our results indicate that older women report worse self-rated health, higher prevalence of disabilities, marginally lower chronic conditions, and lower healthcare utilization than men. The health disadvantage and lower utilization among women cannot be explained by demographics and the differential distribution of medical conditions. While successive controls for education, income, and property ownership narrows the gender gap in both health and healthcare utilization, significant differentials still persist. Upon controlling for economic independence, gender differentials disappear or are reversed, with older women having equal or better health than otherwise similar men. Financial empowerment might confer older women the health advantage reflected in developed societies by enhancing a woman's ability to undertake primary and secondary prevention during the life course.

Keywords: health status, health utilization, older adults, gender gap, empowerment, India

JEL Classification: I1, J14, O1

Accepted Paper Series





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Date posted: February 25, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Roy, Kakoli and Chaudhuri, Anoshua, Influence of Socioeconomic Status, Wealth and Financial Empowerment on Gender Differences in Health and Healthcare Utilization in Later Life: Evidence from India. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1096390

Contact Information

Kakoli Roy (Contact Author)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( email )
1600 Clifton Rd., NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
United States
Anoshua Chaudhuri
San Francisco State University ( email )
Department of Economics
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
United States
415 338 2108 (Phone)
415 338 1057 (Fax)
Department of Economics ( email )
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
United States
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