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Health outcomes, health inequality and Mandarin proficiency in urban China

Haining Wang, Zhiming Cheng and Russell Smyth ()

China Economic Review, 2019, vol. 56, issue C, -

Abstract: We examine the health returns to proficiency in Mandarin in urban China using longitudinal data from the China Family Panel Studies. We find that greater proficiency in Mandarin improves self-reported health, mental health and capacity to perform activities of daily living. We also examine the relationship between Mandarin proficiency and health inequality and the decomposition results show that differences in Mandarin proficiency account for between 2% and 20% of health inequality in urban China, depending on the health indicator. Our results suggest that promoting ‘standard Mandarin’ can serve as a vehicle to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequality.

Keywords: China; Mandarin proficiency; Health outcome; Health inequality; Human capital (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 I14 I24 I26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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