The income-health gradient: evidence from self-reported health and biomarkers using longitudinal data on income

Publication type

Conference Paper


Apostolos Davillas

Publication date


This paper adds to the literature on the income-health gradient by using data from the British Household Panel Survey subsample of Understanding Society, which allows for a wide set of self-reported health measures and objective nurse-administered and blood-based biomarkers as well as for short-run and long-run household income measures. The income-health gradients are greater in magnitude in case of long-run rather than cross-sectional income measures. Analysis “beyond the mean” reveals that the differences between the long-run and the short-run income gradients are more evident towards the tails of the distributions, where both higher risk of illnesses and steeper income gradients are observed. A two-step residual inclusion type of estimator (involving a fixed-effects income model at the first stage) shows that the individual-specific selection effects have a systematic impact in the long-run income gradients in self-reported health but not in biomarkers, highlighting the importance of reporting error in self-reported health.


Economics, Income Dynamics, Health and Biology