Department of Economics and Business Economics

The intergenerational Inequality of Health in China

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  • 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 robust to various model specifications, including the control of unobserved household heterogeneity using instrumental variables. We also find that parents' socio-economic characteristics and environmental 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
JournalChina Economic Review
Volume31
Pages (from-to)392-409
Number of pages18
ISSN1043-951X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Campus adgang til artiklen / Campus access to the article

    Research areas

  • Intergenerational transmission, Health, Inequality, China

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