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Comparing measures of health inequality

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  • Manor, Orly
  • Matthews, Sharon
  • Power, Chris
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    Abstract

    Several methods are available to measure social inequalities in health. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches, in particular the odds ratio, the slope and alpha. These methods are illustrated using data from subjects in the 1958 British birth cohort. The inequality measures are compared using health status at ages 23 and 33. Six health indicators are examined, including self-rated health, limiting long-standing illness, psychological health, respiratory symptoms, asthma and obesity. Two social indicators are compared, namely class at birth and educational qualifications. Conclusions do not differ substantially using the three methods for measuring inequality. However, consistent differences were evident between the measures of social position, with greater inequalities apparent for educational qualifications. Choice of social indicator therefore appears to be of primary importance in measuring health inequality.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 5 (September)
    Pages: 761-771

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:45:y:1997:i:5:p:761-771

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    Keywords: health inequality social class education;

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    Cited by:
    1. Joan Costa-i-Font & Cristina Hernández-Quevedo & Alistair McGuire, 2010. "Persistence despite action? Measuring the patterns of health inequality in England (1997-2007)," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 29971, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Kate Levin & Torbjorn Torsheim & Wilma Vollebergh & Matthias Richter & Carolyn Davies & Christina Schnohr & Pernille Due & Candace Currie, 2011. "National Income and Income Inequality, Family Affluence and Life Satisfaction Among 13 year Old Boys and Girls: A Multilevel Study in 35 Countries," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 104(2), pages 179-194, November.
    3. S. Balia & AM. Jones, 2004. "Mortality, Lifestyle and Socio-Economic Status," Working Paper CRENoS 200416, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    4. Dennis Petrie & Kam Ki Tang, 2008. "A Rethink on Measuring Health Inequalities Using the Gini Coefficient," Discussion Papers Series 381, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    5. Saloua Sehili & Elamin H. Elbasha & David G. Moriarty & Matthew M. Zack, 2005. "Inequalities in self-reported physical health in the United States, 1993-1999," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 377-389.
    6. Costa-Font, Montserrat & Costa-Font, Joan, 2009. "Heterogeneous 'adaptation' and 'income effects' across self-reported health distribution?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 574-580, August.

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