n Studies in Economics and Econometrics - Gender inequalities in morbidity : a South African investigation

Volume 40 Number 3
  • ISSN : 0379-6205


International studies of gender differences in health status largely attest that women have worse health conditions than men, which compromise women's contribution to economic development. Using the South African Demographic and Health Survey of 2003, we investigate whether this disparity also holds in developing countries such as South Africa. Our results concur with previous findings that South African women are more likely to suffer from poor health than men. They also reveal that the health gap is largely driven by a relatively higher prevalence of health conditions among women, rather than by the severity of the conditions that they face. Furthermore, contrary to the common view that the health gap closes with age, we find that the gap exhibits little variation across age groups and it persists in old age. This suggests a need for preventive measures to reduce the occurrence of health conditions in South Africa - which is vital for economic development.

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