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Social health inequalities among older Europeans: the contribution of social and family background

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  • Sandy Tubeuf

    ()

  • Florence Jusot

    ()

Abstract

This analysis aims to get a step further in the understanding of the determining factors of social health inequalities, and to explore particularly the role played by parents’ social status and their vital status or age at death on the social health inequalities in adulthood among European older adults. The wealth-related health inequalities are measured using the popular concentration index. We then implement the decomposition method of the indices and evaluate the contribution of the various determinants of health introduced in interval regression models. Health is measured using self-assessed health and country-specific cut-points that correct observed differences in self-report due to cross-cultural differences in reporting styles. This paper uses data for ten European countries from the first wave of the 2004 SHARE. The study highlights significantly higher wealth-related health inequalities in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. These social inequalities of health in Europe are explained largely by individuals’ current social conditions, particularly wealth. Nevertheless, our analysis attests the existence of a long-term influence of initial conditions in childhood on health in middle-aged and beyond, independently of current social characteristics, which contribute to differences in health status across social groups. This article contributes to the identification of social determinants, which are important determinants of health and follows recommendations suggested to help ‘close the gap’ in various health inequities.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10198-010-0229-3
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal The European Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 12 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 61-77

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Handle: RePEc:spr:eujhec:v:12:y:2011:i:1:p:61-77

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Related research

Keywords: Concentration index; Decomposition; Europe; Inequality; Older adults; D63; I18; J14;

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References

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  1. David Epstein & Dolores Jiménez-Rubio & Peter C. Smith & Marc Suhrcke, 2009. "Social determinants of health: an economic perspective," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 495-502.
  2. Cristina Hernández Quevedo & Andrew M Jones & Ángel López Nicolás & Nigel Rice, 2005. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health: a comparative longitudinal analysis using the European Community Household Panel," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 05/12, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Pedro Rosa Dias, 2009. "Inequality of opportunity in health: evidence from a UK cohort study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(9), pages 1057-1074.
  4. Alain Trannoy & Sandy Tubeuf & Florence Jusot & Marion Devaux, 2010. "Inequality of opportunities in health in France: a first pass," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 921-938, August.
  5. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
  6. Arnaud Lefranc & Nicolas Pistolesi & Alain Trannoy, 2006. "Inequality of opportunities vs. inequality of outcomes: Are Western societies all alike?," Working Papers 54, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  7. Agar Brugiavini & Tullio Jappelli & Guglielmo Weber, 2002. "The Survey on Health, Aging and Wealth," CSEF Working Papers 86, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  8. Florence JUSOT, 2006. "The shape of the relationship between mortality and income in France," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 83-84, pages 89-122.
  9. Wagstaff, Adam & Van Doorslaer, Eddy & Watanabe, Naoko, 2001. "On decomposing the causes of health sector inequalities with an application to malnutrition inequalities in Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2714, The World Bank.
  10. Hendrik Jürges, 2006. "True Health vs. Response Styles: Exploring Cross-country Differences in Self-reported Health," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 588, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. Melchior, Maria & Lert, France & Martin, Magali & Ville, Isabelle, 2006. "Socioeconomic position in childhood and in adulthood and functional limitations in midlife: Data from a nationally-representative survey of French men and women," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(11), pages 2813-2824, December.
  12. Jusot, Florence, 2006. "The shape of the relationship between mortality and income in France," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/425, Paris Dauphine University.
  13. Janet Currie & Rosemary Hyson, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," NBER Working Papers 6999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Groot, Wim, 2000. "Adaptation and scale of reference bias in self-assessments of quality of life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 403-420, May.
  15. Olsen, Karen M. & Dahl, Svenn-Åge, 2007. "Health differences between European countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(8), pages 1665-1678, April.
  16. Trannoy, Alain & Tubeuf, Sandy & Jusot, Florence, 2009. "Tel père, tel fils : l’influence de l'origine sociale et familiale sur la santé des descendants en Europe," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/7044, Paris Dauphine University.
  17. Ann Lecluyse & Irina Cleemput, 2006. "Making health continuous: implications of different methods on the measurement of inequality," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 99-104.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Joachim Frick & Nicolas Ziebarth, 2013. "Welfare-related health inequality: does the choice of measure matter?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 431-442, June.
  2. Ziebarth, Nicolas R. & Frick, Joachim R., 2010. "Revisiting the Income-Health Nexus: The Importance of Choosing the "Right" Indicator," IZA Discussion Papers 4787, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Tim Lohse & Peter Lutz & Christian Thomann, 2013. "Redistributional consequences of early childhood intervention," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 373-381, June.
  4. Jusot, Florence & Tubeuf, Sandy & Trannoy, Alain, 2013. "Les différences d'état de santé en France : inégalités des chances ou reflet des comportements à risques ?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/11292, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. Lohse, Tim & Lutz, Peter F. & Thomann, Christian, 2011. "Investments in the human capital of the socially disadvantaged children: Effects on redistribution," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2011-107, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

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