This study examines the causal relationship between health and social capital in Canada. It contributes to the literature in three ways. It focusses on individual-level cognitive social capital (measured by sense of community belonging). It includes objective health measures (health utility index (HUI) and numerous indicators of chronic conditions) and mental health measures, in addition to self-assessed health (SAH). In addition, it assesses stress, health behaviours and healthcare utilization as the causal mechanisms that explain the health effect of social capital. Using the Canadian Community Health Survey from 2009-2014, the endogeneity problem is addressed by using homeownership and family structure as instrumental variables. Our preliminary findings indicate that higher individual-level cognitive social capital improves mental and physical health, even if the increase is smaller for the more objective indicators. Subgroup analysis reveals that the health of women, older adults and unemployed individual health benefits most from cognitive social capital. Health behaviours and healthcare utilization are key drivers of the influence of cognitive social capital on health.

About the presenter

Associate Professor Mehdi Ammi’s research is in health economics and applied micro-econometrics. His research interests include primary care (especially physicians’ and nurses’ behaviour, and team-based care), utilisation and accessibility of care, decentralisation in healthcare, as well as health inequalities. Overall, he is interested in how the health system characteristics affect its performance in terms of healthcare cost, quality, effectiveness and equity, with the view to inform health policy decisions. Dr Ammi’s research has been published in leading journals such as the Journal of Health Economics, Social Science and Medicine, and Health Services Research.

Dr Ammi obtained his PhD in Economics from the French National Centre for Scientific Research and Université de Bourgogne (France). He pursued his career as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Health Economics at McGill University (Canada), before joining the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University (Canada) as an Assistant Professor, where he has been promoted to Associate Professor.

During his visiting with the Centre for the Business and Economics of Health, he will work on the topic of social capital and health, as well as on questions related to the health workforce and primary care, among other projects.


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