Essays on healthy aging from the perspective of a health production function

TitleEssays on healthy aging from the perspective of a health production function
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsFerdows, NB
Academic DepartmentEconomics
Number of Pages114
UniversityWayne State University
CityDetroit, MI
Thesis Typephd
ISBN Number9781369435030
Keywords0351:Gerontology, 0501:Economics, 0680:Health education, Childhood, Economics, Education, Gerontology, Health behaviors, Health education, healthy aging, Indirect effects, Production function, Social Sciences, Successful aging

This dissertation examines the determinants of healthy aging among older adults using Grossman’s framework of a health production function. Healthy aging is produced using a variety of inputs, including some determined in early life, such as health and socioeconomic status as a child, others determined in young adulthood, such as education, others determined in mid-life, such as household wealth, and still others determined in later-life, such as current health habits. A production function for healthy aging is estimated using nationally representative data from the 2010 Health and Retirement Study on non-institutionalized seniors, and positing a simultaneous equations mediation model, recognizing that childhood outcomes influence adulthood outcomes, which in turn influence healthy aging. I quantify how childhood factors contribute to healthy aging, both directly and indirectly through these effects on mediating adult outcomes. The importance of current health habits to healthy aging are also examined. The results indicate that favorable childhood conditions significantly improve healthy aging scores, both directly and indirectly, mediated through education, income, and wealth. Moreover, good health habits have positive effects on healthy aging that are larger in magnitude than the effects of childhood factors. The findings suggest that exercising, maintaining a proper weight, and not smoking can more than compensate for unfavorable conditions experienced as a child.


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Citation Key10334