Income inequality and population health: Correlation and causality
AbstractA large literature now exists on the cross-national correlation between income inequality and population health, but existing studies suffer from sparse data, poor operationalization of income inequality, and the use of low-power statistical models. This paper sets out to estimate the ecological correlation between income inequality and indicators of population health in a very broad panel of countries, to demonstrate that this relationship is largely non-artifactual, and to test whether this relationship might be causal. Gini coefficients of national income inequality in 1970 and 1995 are correlated with life expectancy, infant mortality rates, and murder rates, controlling for national income per capita. In cross-sectional analyses, inequality is significantly correlated with life expectancy, infant mortality, and (inconsistently) the murder rate. The health correlations are shown to be not primarily due to the "convexity effect" of the non-linear relationship between individual income and individual health, which seems to account for no more than one-third of the relationship between inequality and health, and likely much less. Change in inequality 1970-1995 is significantly related to change in life expectancy and infant mortality, suggesting a causal relationship, but these correlations are not robust with respect to sample or controls. It can be concluded that there is a strong, consistent, statistically significant, non-artifactual correlation between national income inequality and population health, but though there is some evidence that this relationship is causal, the relative stability of income inequality over time in most countries makes causality difficult to test.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.
Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
Issue (Month): 7 (April)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Bergh, Andreas & Nilsson, Therese, 2009.
"Good for living? On the relation between globalization and life expectancy,"
2009:9, Lund University, Department of Economics.
- Bergh, Andreas & Nilsson, Therese, 2009. "Good for Living? On the Relation between Globalization and Life Expectancy," Ratio Working Papers 136, The Ratio Institute.
- Johan Fritzell & Olli Kangas & Jennie Bacchus-hertzman & Blomgren, J. (Jenni) & Heikki Hiilamo, 2012. "GINI DP 64: Cross-Temporal and Cross-National Poverty and Mortality Rates among Developed Countries," GINI Discussion Papers 64, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
- Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
- Nelson, Kenneth & Fritzell, Johan, 2014. "Welfare states and population health: The role of minimum income benefits for mortality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 63-71.
- Durevall, Dick & Lindskog, Annika, 2009.
"Economic Inequality and HIV in Malawi,"
Working Papers in Economics
425, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 01 Jan 2010.
- Tobias Vogt & Fanny A. Kluge, 2013. "Care for money? Mortality improvements, increasing intergenerational transfers, and time devoted to the elderly," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
- Ioana Pop & Erik Ingen & Wim Oorschot, 2013. "Inequality, Wealth and Health: Is Decreasing Income Inequality the Key to Create Healthier Societies?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 1025-1043, September.
- Pulok, Mohammad Habibullah, 2012. "Revisiting Health and Income Inequality Relationship:Evidence from Developing Countries," MPRA Paper 39766, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Böckerman, Petri, 2010. "Top income shares and mortality: Evidence from advanced countries," MPRA Paper 19970, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Jorgenson, Andrew K. & Alekseyko, Alina & Giedraitis, Vincentas, 2014. "Energy consumption, human well-being and economic development in central and eastern European nations: A cautionary tale of sustainability," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 419-427.
- Semyonov, Moshe & Lewin-Epstein, Noah & Maskileyson, Dina, 2013. "Where wealth matters more for health: The wealth–health gradient in 16 countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 10-17.
- Karlsdotter, Kristina & Martín Martín, José J. & López del Amo González, M. Puerto, 2012. "Multilevel analysis of income, income inequalities and health in Spain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1099-1106.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.