Health and wealth of elderly couples: causality tests using dynamic panel data models.

TitleHealth and wealth of elderly couples: causality tests using dynamic panel data models.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsMichaud, P-C, vanSoest, AHO
JournalJ Health Econ
Date Published2008 Sep
ISSN Number0167-6296
Call Numbernewpubs20081014_Michaud-vanSoest.pdf
KeywordsAged, Causality, Family Characteristics, Female, Health Status Indicators, Humans, Income, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Econometric, Retirement, Social Class, Spouses, United States

A positive relationship between socio-economic status (SES) and health, the "health-wealth gradient", is repeatedly found in many industrialized countries. This study analyzes competing explanations for this gradient: causal effects from health to wealth (health causation) and causal effects from wealth to health (wealth or social causation). Using six biennial waves of couples aged 51-61 in 1992 from the US Health and Retirement Study, we test for causality in panel data models incorporating unobserved heterogeneity and a lag structure supported by specification tests. In contrast to tests relying on models with only first order lags or without unobserved heterogeneity, these tests provide no evidence of causal wealth health effects. On the other hand, we find strong evidence of causal effects from both spouses' health on household wealth. We also find an effect of the husband's health on the wife's mental health, but no other effects from one spouse's health to health of the other spouse.

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Endnote Keywords

Wealth/HEALTH/socioeconomic status

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Health Econ
Citation Key7244
PubMed ID18513809
PubMed Central IDPMC2867362
Grant ListP01 AG022481 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P01 AG022481-04 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG020717 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG030824 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States