Socioeconomic Status and Health: Why is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?

41 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2002

See all articles by Janet Currie

Janet Currie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Princeton University

Mark Stabile

INSEAD; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 2002

Abstract

Case, Lubotsky, and Paxson (2001) show that the well-known relationship between socio- economic status (SES) and health exists in childhood and grows more pronounced with age. However, in cross-sectional data it is difficult to distinguish between two possible explanations. The first is that low-SES children are less able to respond to a given health shock. The second is that low SES children experience more shocks. We show, using panel data on Canadian children that: 1) the gradient we estimate in the cross section is very similar to that estimated previously using U.S. children; 2) both high and low-SES children recover from past health shocks to about the same degree; and 3) that the relationship between SES and health grows stronger over time mainly because low-SES children receive more negative health shocks. In addition, we examine the effect of health shocks on math and reading scores. We find that health shocks affect test scores and future health in very similar ways. Our results suggest that public policy aimed at reducing SES-related health differentials in children should focus on reducing the incidence of health shocks as well as on reducing disparities in access to palliative care.

Suggested Citation

Currie, Janet and Stabile, Mark, Socioeconomic Status and Health: Why is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children? (August 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w9098. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=321364

Janet Currie (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
6092587393 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

Mark Stabile

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
F-77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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