Socioeconomic status and health
: the different roles of subjective and objective measures

  • Hannah Franziska Sowa (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Background: Understanding the complex interplay of self-rated health (SRH) and socioeconomic status (SES) is crucial for uncovering health disparities and for formulating effective policies to address them. It is essential to explore not only objective but also subjective determinants of SRH to allow for a more comprehensive understanding. This paper contributes to the literature by adding valuable empirical evidence on the role of SES and perceived satisfaction ratings for SRH. Thereby, this thesis fills a gap by including a unique set of satisfaction variables, namely perceived income, work, housing as well as overall life satisfaction. Methodology: This empirical study employs longitudinal data sourced from the German Socio-Economic Panel Wave 37, encompassing a sample of 11,672 individuals spanning the years 2014, 2016, and 2018. To ascertain the influence of a comprehensive range of objective and subjective variables on SRH, ordered response models are estimated. Furthermore, model robustness is tested by estimating an alternative model specification. Results: In the German context, objective measures of SES alone do not fully capture the main drivers explaining socioeconomic health disparities. The results indicate that work and life satisfaction add significant explanatory power to SRH. Occupational prestige and level of education play a significant role in the likelihood of reporting most SRH categories. The presence of chronic diseases and the reporting of daily difficulties due to health most strongly predict SRH.
Date of Award2 Feb 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMiguel Gouveia (Supervisor)


  • Self-rated health
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Generalized ordered probit model


  • Mestrado em Economia

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