Health and Wealth among the Poor: India and South Africa Compared

Health and Wealth among the Poor: India and South Africa Compared SES GRADIENTS IN HEALTH†By ANNE CASE AND ANGUS DEATON* capita. Yet life expectancy in South Africa, which in 1990 was three years longer than in India, by 2000 was 14 years shorter; and the reversal is even more dramatic if South African whites are excluded. In this paper, we report direct comparisons of a number of objective and subjective measures of economic and health status in two sites, one in the district of Udaipur in rural Rajasthan, and one in the shack township of Khayelitsha near Cape Town. We are interested in an assessment of the “wealthier is healthier” hypothesis and, more generally, in the feasibility of making international comparisons of well-being using individual-level data, and especially the use of subjective measures of health and living standards (i.e., whether they reflect objective measures, or are fully adapted to local expectations). Our results show that the economically better-off South Africans are healthier in some respects, but not in others. They are taller and heavier, but their self-assessed health is no better; they suffer from depression and anxiety to about the same degree; they have a remarkably similar pattern of prevalence of various health conditions; and both adults and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Economic Review American Economic Association

Health and Wealth among the Poor: India and South Africa Compared

American Economic Review, Volume 95 (2) – May 1, 2005

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Publisher
American Economic Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by the American Economic Association
Subject
Papers
ISSN
0002-8282
DOI
10.1257/000282805774670310
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

SES GRADIENTS IN HEALTH†By ANNE CASE AND ANGUS DEATON* capita. Yet life expectancy in South Africa, which in 1990 was three years longer than in India, by 2000 was 14 years shorter; and the reversal is even more dramatic if South African whites are excluded. In this paper, we report direct comparisons of a number of objective and subjective measures of economic and health status in two sites, one in the district of Udaipur in rural Rajasthan, and one in the shack township of Khayelitsha near Cape Town. We are interested in an assessment of the “wealthier is healthier” hypothesis and, more generally, in the feasibility of making international comparisons of well-being using individual-level data, and especially the use of subjective measures of health and living standards (i.e., whether they reflect objective measures, or are fully adapted to local expectations). Our results show that the economically better-off South Africans are healthier in some respects, but not in others. They are taller and heavier, but their self-assessed health is no better; they suffer from depression and anxiety to about the same degree; they have a remarkably similar pattern of prevalence of various health conditions; and both adults and

Journal

American Economic ReviewAmerican Economic Association

Published: May 1, 2005

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