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Curtis, Lori
Phipps, Shelley
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
LIS Working Paper Series No. 313
Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), Luxembourg
The goal of this paper is to investigate the health status and health care utilization consequences of social transfers for the health of mothers, in particular lone mothers, in Canada and Norway. Studies from Europe and the US and a recent Canadian work suggest that married individuals are likely to be healthier than single or divorced individuals. Studies that focus specifically on the health status of mothers suggest that the unconditional health status of lone mothers is worse than that of married mothers. However, lone mothers, on average, have lower socio-economic status as well. Since socioeconomic status is an important determinant of health, the health status difference between married mothers and lone mothers often disappears in multivariate analysis which appropriately controls for socioeconomic status. According to microdata from the 1994 National Population Health Survey, in Canada the unconditional health status of lone mothers is significantly lower and rates of health care utilization are significantly higher than is true for married mothers. However, microdata from the 1995 Statistics Norway Health Survey indicate that this same health status/health care utilization difference between married and lone mothers is not apparent. It is also true that in Canada, lone mothers are dramatically more likely to be poor than married mothers, but the same is not true for Norway. Since the literature suggests that socioeconomic status is an important reason for differences in health status, and since social transfers appear to play a central role in alleviating the poverty of lone mothers in Norway, this paper examines the hypothesis that one reason the health status of lone mothers in Norway is relatively better than the health status of lone mothers in Canada is that the state provides more support in the form of transfers in Norway.
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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