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Measuring inequalities in health: What do we know? What do we need to know?

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  • Costa-Font, Joan
  • Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina

Abstract

We argue that policy analysis aiming at curving inequalities in health calls for a better understanding of what we know about its measurement pathways. Assuming that health is a good that individuals trade off against other goods, unavoidable health inequalities result when after controlling for unavoidable factors (e.g., age and gender), differences in socioeconomic status of an individual systemically engender differences in health outcomes. However, the measurement of such inequality and underpinning reasons behind are not suggestive of a clear picture. In reviewing the literature, we conclude that it is unclear what the evidence suggests about the reasons for health inequalities as well as the best possible instruments to measure both inequality and socioeconomic health gradients. We provide an evaluation of the different sources of health inequity and we draw upon measurement issues and their policy significance.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Health Policy.

Volume (Year): 106 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 195-206

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Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:106:y:2012:i:2:p:195-206

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/healthpol

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Keywords: Socioeconomic status; Health inequalities; Income; Education; Health;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Joan Costa-i-Font & Frank Cowell, 2013. "Measuring Health Inequality with Categorical Data: Some Regional Patterns," CESifo Working Paper Series 4427, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Hajizadeh, Mohammad & Nandi, Arijit & Heymann, Jody, 2014. "Social inequality in infant mortality: What explains variation across low and middle income countries?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 36-46.
  3. Costa-Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Jiménez-Rubio, Dolores, 2014. "Income inequalities in unhealthy life styles in England and Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 66-75.

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