NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Beware of Unawareness: Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Awareness of Chronic Diseases

Pinka Chatterji, Heesoo Joo, Kajal Lahiri

NBER Working Paper No. 16578
Issued in December 2010
NBER Program(s):   HE

This paper studies racial/ethnic disparities in awareness of chronic diseases using biomarker data from the 2006 HRS. We estimate a 3-step sequential probit model which accounts for selection into: (1) participating in biomarker collection; (2) having illness (hypertension or diabetes); (3) being aware of illness. Contrary to studies reporting that African-Americans are more aware of having hypertension than non-Latino whites, we do not find this conclusion holds after self-selection and severity are considered. Likewise, African-Americans and Latinos are less aware of having diabetes compared to non-Latino whites. Disparities in unawareness are exacerbated when we limit the sample to untreated respondents.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16578

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