Inflated Responses in Measures of Self-Assessed Health

38 Pages Posted: 30 May 2014

See all articles by William H. Greene

William H. Greene

New York University Stern School of Business

Mark N. Harris

Curtin University

Bruce Hollingsworth

Lancaster University

Date Written: May 2014

Abstract

This paper focuses on the self-reported responses given to survey questions of the form In general how would you rate your health? with typical response items being on a scale ranging from poor to excellent. Usually, the overwhelming majority of responses fall in either the middle category or the one immediately to the "right" of this (in the above example, good and very good). However, based on a wide range of other medical indicators, such favourable responses appear to paint an overly rosy picture of true health. The hypothesis here is that these "middle" responses have been, in some sense, inflated. That is, for whatever reason, a significant number of responders inaccurately report into these categories. We find a significant amount of inflation into these categories. Adjusted responses to these questions could lead to significant changes in policy, and should be reflected upon when analysing and interpreting these scales.

Keywords: Self-assessed health, inflated outcomes, mis-reporting,, ordered probit, panel data

Suggested Citation

Greene, William H. and Harris, Mark N. and Hollingsworth, Bruce, Inflated Responses in Measures of Self-Assessed Health (May 2014). NYU Working Paper No. 2451/33696, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2443781

William H. Greene (Contact Author)

New York University Stern School of Business ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://people.stern.nyu.edu/wgreene

Mark N. Harris

Curtin University

Bruce Hollingsworth

Lancaster University ( email )

Lancaster LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

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