Health Outcomes and Socio-Economic Status Among the Elderly in China: Evidence from the Charls Pilot

57 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2010

See all articles by John Strauss

John Strauss

University of Southern California - Department of Economics

Xiaoyan Lei

Peking University - CCER

Albert Park

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - The William Davidson Institute; Harvard University - Fairbank Center for East Asian Research

Yan Shen

Peking University - China Center for Economic Research (CCER)

James P. Smith

RAND Corporation; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Zhe Yang

Peking University

Yaohui Zhao

Peking University

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Abstract

We are concerned in this paper with measuring health outcomes among the elderly in Zhejiang and Gansu provinces, China, and examining the relationships between different dimensions of health status and measures of socio-economic status (SES). We use the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) pilot data to document health conditions among the elderly in Gansu and Zhejiang provinces, where the survey was fielded. We use a very rich set of health indicators that include both self-reported measures and biomarkers. We also examine correlations between these health outcomes and two important indicators of socioeconomic status (SES): education and log of per capita expenditure (log pce), our preferred measure of household resources. While there exists a very large literature that examines the relationships between SES and health measures, little has been done on Chinese data to see whether correlations reported in many other countries are replicated in China, particularly so for the aged. In general education tends to be positively correlated with better health outcomes, as it is in other countries. However, unmeasured community influences turn out to be highly important, much more so than one usually finds in other countries. While it is not yet clear which aspects of communities matter and why they matter, we set up an agenda for future research on this topic. We also find a large degree of under-diagnosis of hypertension, a major health problems that afflicts the aged. This implies that the current health system is not well prepared to address the rapid aging of the Chinese population, at least not in Gansu and Zhejiang.

Keywords: health, China

JEL Classification: I10

Suggested Citation

Strauss, John and Lei, Xiaoyan and Park, Albert Francis and Shen, Yan and Smith, James P. and Yang, Zhe and Zhao, Yaohui, Health Outcomes and Socio-Economic Status Among the Elderly in China: Evidence from the Charls Pilot. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5152. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1667776

John Strauss (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

306A Kaprielian Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Xiaoyan Lei

Peking University - CCER ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Albert Francis Park

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - The William Davidson Institute ( email )

724 E. University Ave.
Wyly Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234
United States

Harvard University - Fairbank Center for East Asian Research

1737 Cambridge Street
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Cambridge, MA 02138

Yan Shen

Peking University - China Center for Economic Research (CCER) ( email )

Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

James P. Smith

RAND Corporation ( email )

P.O. Box 2138
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Zhe Yang

Peking University ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Yaohui Zhao

Peking University ( email )

Department of Economics
Beijing 100871
China

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