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

Publication type

ISER Working Paper Series

Series Number



ISER Working Paper Series


Publication date

March 16, 2017


 This paper adds to the literature on the income-health gradient by exploring the association of short- and long-term income with a wide set of self-reported health measures and objective nurse-administered and blood-based biomarkers as well as employing estimation techniques that allow for analysis “beyond the mean” and accounting for unobserved heterogeneity. The income-health gradients are greater in magnitude in case of long-run rather than cross- sectional income measures. Unconditional quantile regressions reveal that the differences between the long-run and the short-run income gradients are more evident towards the right tails of the distributions, where both higher risk of illnesses and steeper income gradients are observed. A two-step 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.


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