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The Effects of Health Events on the Economic Status of Married Couples

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Abstract

This paper uses measures of exogenous health ‘‘shocks’’ to identify the different channels through which changes in health conditions affect income, wealth, and consumption behavior. The results indicate that serious health conditions have strong effects on household wealth, but that the effects for women are larger and more significant than the effects for men. The source of the asymmetry arises from the fact that general living expenses increase when wives become seriously ill, while for husbands, health shocks do not affect these expenditures.

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