La sante des seniors selon leur origine sociale et la longevite de leurs parents
This article analyses the role played by childhood circumstances, especially social and family background in explaining health status in adulthood. The influence of social and health characteristics is also considered, whereby characteristics in a generation impacts the health status in the following generation, in spite of evidence showing that this happens in different ways. In this study, we particularly explore the hypothesis of an intergenerational transmission of health inequalities using a survey conducted on a general population. Since the impact of both social background and parents’ health on health status in adulthood represent circumstances independent of individual responsibility, this study allows us to test for the existence in France of inequalities of opportunity in health related to families and social determinism. Empirically, our study relies on tests of stochastic dominance at first order that are supplemented by a multivariate regression analysis. This analysis shows inequalities of opportunity in health in adulthood according to social background and parents’ longevity. We obtained different results from the two parents. The mother’s social status has a direct effect on the health of her offspring. By contrast, the effect on the descendant’s health from the father’s social status is indirect only, going through the descendant’s social status as an adult. Furthermore, there is a direct effect of each parent’s relative longevity on health in adulthood.
early life hypothesis; equality of opportunity; health inequalities; intergenerational transmission.
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