Department of Economics and Business Economics

The Intergenerational Inequality of Health in China

Research output: Working paperResearch

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  • wp13_21

    Submitted manuscript, 1.14 MB, PDF document

  • Tor Eriksson
  • Jay Pan, Sichuan University, China
  • Xuezheng Qin, Peking University, China
This paper estimates the intergenerational health transmission in China using the 1991-2009 China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) data. Three decades of persistent economic growth in China has been accompanied by high income inequality, which may in turn be caused by the inequality of opportunity in education and health. In this paper, we find that there is a strong correlation of health status between parent and their offspring in both the urban and rural sectors, suggesting the existence of intergenerational health inequality in China. The correlation is persistent with different health measures and various model specifications, and is robust when unobserved household heterogeneity is removed. We also find that the parents’ (especially the mothers’) socio-economic characteristics and environmental / health care choices are strongly correlated with their own and their children’s health, supporting the “nature-nurture interaction” hypothesis. The Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition further indicates that 15% to 27% of the rural-urban inequality of child health is attributable to the endowed inequality from their parents’ health. An important policy implication of our study is that the increasing inequality of income and opportunity in China can be ameliorated through the improvement of the current generation’s health status and living standards.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationAarhus
PublisherInstitut for Økonomi, Aarhus Universitet
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2013
SeriesEconomics Working Papers
Number2013-21

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