ISER Working Paper Series 2010-08
Is there an income gradient in child health? It depends whom you ask
17 Mar 2010
Research on the socioeconomic determinants of health is often based on parental assessments of their children’s health. We assess this approach by comparing directly evaluations from parents, teachers, children and psychiatrists of three aspects of child mental health from two major UK surveys. We test whether the different observers give reports that are systematically related to observable child and parent characteristics and find that the differences are large and systematic. This in turn results in systematic differences in the estimated magnitude and significance of the health-income gradient, suggesting that one should be cautious in interpreting findings from the research literature.