Is There an Income Gradient in Child Health? It Depends Whom You Ask

28 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2010

See all articles by David W. Johnston

David W. Johnston

Monash University

Carol Propper

Imperial College London Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO)

Stephen Pudney

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Michael A. Shields

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

A large literature uses parental evaluations of child health status to provide evidence on the socioeconomic determinants of health. If how parents perceive health questions differs by income or education level, then estimates of the socioeconomic gradient are likely to be biased and potentially misleading. In this paper we examine this issue. We directly compare child mental health evaluations from parents, teachers, children and psychiatrists for mental health problems, test whether these differences are systematically related to observable child and parent characteristics, and examine the implications of the different reports for the estimated income gradient. We find that respondents frequently evaluate children differently and while the sign of the income gradient is in the same direction across respondents, systematic differences in evaluations mean that the estimated magnitude and significance of the health-income gradient is highly dependent upon the choice of respondent and the measure of child health.

Keywords: child health, income, reporting bias

JEL Classification: I12, J13

Suggested Citation

Johnston, David W. and Propper, Carol and Pudney, Stephen and Shields, Michael A., Is There an Income Gradient in Child Health? It Depends Whom You Ask. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4830. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1575883

Carol Propper

Imperial College London Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) ( email )

12 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TN
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Economics/department/profiles/propper.htm

Stephen Pudney

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Michael A. Shields

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Victoria 3010, 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 4656 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 6899 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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