The Wealth-Health Gradient within Couples: Longitudinal Evidence from Germany

Dina Maskileyson , University of Cologne
Daria Tisch, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Philipp M. Lersch, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

This study focuses on the intersection of wealth and gender in the production of health. We argue for a more systematic examination of the interaction between, on the one hand, wealth personally owned by individuals and wealth owned by their partners and, on the other hand, gender in the social patterning of health within opposite-sex couples. Thereby, we go beyond a simplistic view that economic resources are fully pooled within households. More specifically, we ask how personal wealth and partners’ wealth are associated with health for women and men in Germany. Thereby, this study contributes both to the literature on the wealth-health gradient and on gender inequality by providing an examination of the strength of the association between wealth and health by gender. The data for this study were from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) for the survey years 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017. We estimated a series of longitudinal regression models predicting health of individuals as a function of their personal wealth, their partners’ wealth, gender, personal income and sociodemographic attributes. The preliminary results revealed that wealth-health gradient was higher among women than among men across the four years studied. We also found personal wealth to be more relevant in explaining health outcomes than partners’ wealth indicating that wealth is not completely shared within couples. Our results emphasize the importance of using an integrated approach for the analysis of health inequalities, simultaneously considering wealth and gender, in order fully to understand the socio-economical determinants of health.

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 Presented in Session 87. Civil Status and Health