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Inequalities of Opportunities in Health and Natural Reward: a European Perspective

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  • Tubeuf, Sandy
  • Trannoy, Alain
  • Jusot, Florence
  • Bricard, Damien

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to quantify inequalities of opportunities in health in Europe and to assess whether the way the correlation between effort towards health and circumstances empirically matters for the magnitude of inequalities of opportunities. Methodology: This paper considers two alternative normative ways of treating the correlation between effort and circumstances championed by Barry and Roemer, and combine regression analysis with inequality measures to compare inequality of opportunities in health within Europe. This paper uses the Retrospective Survey of SHARELIFE focusing on life histories of European people aged 50 and over. Findings: Our results show considerable inequalities of opportunity in health in Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Greece and Belgium whereas Sweden and Switzerland show low inequalities of opportunities in health. The normative principle considered makes little difference in Austria, France, Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland whereas it appears to matter in the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Greece and Belgium. Research implications: Our results suggest a strong social and family determinism of lifestyles in the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Mediterranean which emphasized the importance of inequalities of opportunities in health within those countries. In terms of public health and social policies, it appears that reducing social and unhealthy lifestyles reproduction across generations would provide important benefits on health. On the other hand Austria, France, and Czech Republic show high inequalities of opportunities in health mainly driven by social and family background affecting adult health directly, and so would require policies compensating for poorer initial conditions.

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Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/11716.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/11716

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Keywords: Equality of opportunity; Europe; health; inequality decomposition; efforts; circumstances;

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  1. Trannoy, Alain & Tubeuf, Sandy & Jusot, Florence, 2013. "Circumstances and Efforts: How important is their correlation for the measurement of inequality of opportunity in health?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5065, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. Trannoy, A & Tubeuf, S & Jusot, F & Devaux, M, 2008. "Inequality in Opportunities in Health in France: A first pass," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 08/24, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Fleurbaey, Marc & Schokkaert, Erik, 2009. "Unfair inequalities in health and health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 73-90, January.
  4. Adda, Jerome & Chandola, Tarani & Marmot, Michael, 2003. "Socio-economic status and health: causality and pathways," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 57-63, January.
  5. Bruce Hollingsworth & Anthony Scott & Sandy Tubeuf & Florence Jusot & Damien Bricard, 2012. "Mediating Role Of Education And Lifestyles In The Relationship Between Early‐Life Conditions And Health: Evidence From The 1958 British Cohort," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21, pages 129-150, 06.
  6. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2008. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199215911, October.
  7. Pedro Rosa Dias, 2010. "Modelling opportunity in health under partial observability of circumstances," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 252-264.
  8. Pedro Rosa Dias & Andrew M. Jones, 2007. "Giving equality of opportunity a fair innings," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 109-112.
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