Place of Residence and Health: Empirical Evidence from Italy
Posted: 29 Feb 2012
Date Written: December 1, 2011
In recent years, economic research on the socio-economic determinants of health has significantly grown given the importance of health for individual wellbeing. Most of the work up to now has focused on the effects of individual socio-economic conditions, whereas, more recently, the view that even socio-economic characteristics of the place in which individual live can influence health status autonomously is gaining consensus. This paper is one of the first empirical attempts at estimating the effect of the place of residence on health status in Italy. The paper shows that alongside the strong effect of individual socio-economic conditions, bad social and environmental contextual conditions have a negative effect both on objective and subjective measures of health. The paper also shows a great regional heterogeneity of such effects that are particularly strong in central-northern regions. Lastly, we find an important negative contextual effect for women and individuals with low socio-economic status. All these results suggest complementing the traditional social policies which are focused on the individual with policies aimed at improving social, environmental and economic conditions of disadvantaged areas, with potential health benefits to the communities which reside in them.
Keywords: context, health, place of residence, socio-economic disadvantage
JEL Classification: I10, I30, R23
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