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Health Indicators: the Sensitivity to Socio-Demographic Characteristics

Student: Tatiana Kolchina

Supervisor: Ekaterina Aleksandrova

Faculty: St.Petersburg School of Economics and Management

Educational Programme: Applied Economics and Mathematical Methods (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

Today, "health" is one of the most common and relevant topics in the world. But, what is "health"? There are many definitions of "health", but there is no single one that is suitable for all countries and peoples. Each individual determines for himself what "health" means to him, depending on different social, economic, demographic and other characteristics. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is when there are no diseases and defects, as well as complete physical, mental and social well — being (The World Health Organization, 1948). From the economic point of view, health is a specific commodity (or stock) of long — term use ("health stock"), which is necessary for the production of human capital (Grossman, 1972). The next questions that arise after defining health are: is it possible to measure "health"? How can it be measured? Just as with the definition of "health", there are many approaches to measuring health: medical, epidemiological, economic, sociological, statistical, etc. There is another more common classification of health measurement through objective (determined by another person, such as a doctor) and subjective (self-assessment of one's health status) health indicators. It has its advantages and disadvantages. Which of the ways to measure health is better or worse assesses health, because according to some, subjective health indicators can not give general and accurate information about the state of health of an individual and vice versa. Thus, the research question in this paper is as follows: how much do subjective and objective ways of measuring health by socio-economic characteristics differ for the population of the Russian Federation? In our study, we use the following objective and subjective health indicators: self-reported health (SAH); presence of chronic diseases; smoking; alcohol consumption; physical activity; nutrition; doctor visits; body mass index. We use the following socio-demographic characteristics: gender, age, education, marital status, and income. For this study, cross-sectional data from the RLMS — HSE and the questionnaire of the International Center for Health Economics, Management and Policy (HSE-SPB) for 2019 will be used. The paper will use econometric analysis: logistic regressions, marginal effects, and the least squares method. The analysis showed that the models are differently sensitive to socio-demographic characteristics. Basically, only age is significant for subjective and objective health indicators: with age, health deteriorates. Only subjective health indicators can be used to assess the health of the population in St. Petersburg: "Body mass index (subjective)" according to the HRQoL and RLMS-HSE questionnaire and "Self-assessment of health" only for men according to the HRQoL questionnaire The study consists of two parts. The first part shows the main definitions of health, various approaches to its measurement. The second part provides a description of the data, an econometric analysis of the various ways of measuring health, and their comparison.

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