Topics in Middle Eastern and North African Economies

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The main objective of this paper is to assess the relationship between health and socio-economic status (SES) across ages by including gender roles for men and women. Although life expectancy of women is greater than men, women's average subjective health measure is worse and morbidity rates are higher. Gender roles in society would be one of the causes of this distinction. Gender roles are proxied by time spent in household work, childcare, active & passive leisure and employment. Mean comparison tests show that women spend more time in household work and childcare and less time in employment and leisure. By using the Time Use Survey for Turkey, the focus of the study is twofold; i) assessing the relationship between SES and subjective health status ii) determining the impact of gender roles along with SES on health status across ages. Results show that the bottom of the SES hierarchy in Turkey are in much worse health than those at the top and average health among men is better than women. A health gradient exists whether income, education or work status is used as indicators of SES. We observe relatively wide SES gradients in health in middle age and the narrowing of it in old ages implying some mixture of cumulative advantage hypothesis and age-as-leveler hypothesis operates through life cycles. When we depict health gradients according to gender roles, we observe that both men and women in the bottom quartile of time spent on household work and childcare and those in the top quartile of time spent on leisure have better health. Marginal effects of the probit estimation present that health and the SES relationship varies across life cycle. After correcting for endogeneity and introducing gender roles into the model, the effect of being male is still positive, but decreases. When the estimation is repeated separately for men and women, the impact of age and education on health is greater for women, household work has a negative impact on health of both men and women and time spent on childcare effect the health of men negatively. Active leisure increases the probability of good health of women whereas passive leisure does the same for men. Time spent on employment has a positive effect for men and is insignificant for women. The results suggest that if gender roles were to be more equal, the gap in health status between men and women would diminish.



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Topics in Middle Eastern and North African Economies




Middle East Economic Association and Loyola University Chicago




Presentation of the articles in the Topics in Middle Eastern and North African Economies was made possible by a limited license granted to Loyola University Chicago and Middle East Economics Association from the authors who have retained all copyrights in the articles.

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