Socioeconomic differences in health over the life cycle: Evidence and explanations

This paper summarizes the international evidence on socioeconomic differences in health over the life cycle and considers the extent to which this is consistent with economic theory. The paper then presents new evidence from Dutch data on differences, by SES, in the way in which health evolves over the adult life cycle. Finally, the paper outlines some implications for policy and future research of adopting a life-cycle perspective for the analysis of socioeconomic-related health inequalities. A dynamic approach goes beyond merely expanding our knowledge of the extent of socioeconomic-related inequalities in health; it also promises to enrich our understanding of the nature of those inequalities by revealing, for example, whether health differences by education persist into later life.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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