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Debt and Health

Lenton, P. and Mosley, P. (2008) Debt and Health. Working Paper. Department of Economics, University of Sheffield ISSN 1749-8368


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Debt problems in the UK have recently become much more severe, especially for the lowest income groups, and we examine here their impact on health, using data from the national Families´ and Children´s Survey (FACS). We model the relationship between debt and health as a simultaneous two-way interaction, and find that debt levels have a negative effect on both physical and psychological health. We find that debt repayment structure, defined as the percentage of debt borrowed in high-interest categories, has an impact on health independent of the level of debt. The interaction between debt and health may aggravate the poverty trap, by pushing heavily-indebted low-income people into ill-health, which then makes it difficult for them to acquire or hold on to the steady jobs needed to ease their debt problems. We also find that worry has a negative influence on debt management capacity, and thence on health, which makes it more difficult for those caught in a debt trap to escape from it. Membership of credit unions tends to reduce worry, however, and thereby may facilitate escape from the debt-ill health spiral.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: The Sheffield Economics Research Paper (SERP) series offers a forum for the research output of the academic staff and research students of the Department of Economics, University of Sheffield. Papers are reviewed for quality and presentation by a departmental editor. However, the contents and opinions expressed remain the responsibility of the authors. All papers may be downloaded free on the understanding that the contents are preliminary and therefore permission from the author(s) should be sought before they are referenced.
Keywords: Debt, Health, Random effects ordered probit models
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Economics (Sheffield) > Sheffield Economics Research Papers Series
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2009 15:41
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2014 06:40
Published Version: http://www.shef.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/yea...
Status: Published
Publisher: Department of Economics, University of Sheffield
Identification Number: Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series 2008004
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9978

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