Understanding Health Disparities Across Education Groups

57 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2001 Last revised: 29 Apr 2002

See all articles by Dana P. Goldman

Dana P. Goldman

RAND Corporation; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Darius N. Lakdawalla

University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics; RAND Corporation; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2001

Abstract

Better-educated people are healthier, but the magnitude of the relationship between health and education varies substantially across groups and over time. We undertake a theoretical and empirical study of how health disparities by education vary over time and across the population, according to underlying health characteristics and market forces. One surprising implication of the theory we develop is that health disparities actually increase as the price of health inputs falls. Therefore, government subsidies for health care research or even universal health insurance may worsen health inequality. Moreover, technological progress in health care will tend to raise inequality over time. The theory also implies that health disparities will be larger for sicker, older and more vulnerable groups. The first prediction is consistent with significant expansions in health disparities over the last thirty years in the US. The second is consistent with observed patterns in the National Health Interview Survey, the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, and the Framingham Heart Study. The returns to schooling are twice as high for the chronically ill and for those out of the labor force, and they tend to rise with age.

Suggested Citation

Goldman, Dana P. and Lakdawalla, Darius N., Understanding Health Disparities Across Education Groups (June 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8328. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=273696

Dana P. Goldman (Contact Author)

RAND Corporation ( email )

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

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Darius N. Lakdawalla

University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3333
United States

RAND Corporation ( email )

P.O. Box 2138
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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