Understanding Society Scientific Conference 2019 - , University of Essex

The intergenerational persistence of inequalities in health and income: where can we target policy to best reduce inequalities?

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Day:Thu 4 Jul
  • Heather Brown, University of Newcastle

There is a lack of evidence on the intergenerational persistence of physical and mental health and if and how this relates to the intergenerational correlation in income. In this paper, we utilise data from the British Household Panel Survey (1991-2008) and Understanding Society Survey (2009-2016) to investigate intergenerational inequalities in physical health, measured using self-assessed health and mental health, the GHQ and income and log of hourly wage. The analysis also explored if the introduction of Sure Start centres in 1999, to improve the early life chances of 0-5 year olds, has had an impact on the intergenerational correlation in health and income for 16-18 year olds. Preliminary results show that the intergenerational correlation in physical and mental health and income are increasing over time.  This suggests a decrease in social mobility over time.  Using a larger number of data points to create a latent health and income variable strengthens the observed intergenerational correlation. This suggests that fewer data points may not be capturing the true lifetime cycles of health and income.