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Investing in Health to Improve the Wellbeing of the Disadvantaged: Reversing the Augment of the Marmot Reports

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  • David Canning

    ()
    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Diana Bowser

    ()
    (Harvard School of Public Health)

Abstract

The Marmot reports have argued that health inequalities are the result of social inequalities. They advocate reducing health inequalities by undertaking fundamental changes that make society fairer. We argue that the focus should be on improving the health and wellbeing of the disadvantaged, even if the policies that do this also raise the health of the better off, and worsen inequality. We also argue that the causality runs from health to social status, and that health interventions are needed to improve socioeconomic outcomes. While we disagree on goals and mechanisms we are in surprisingly close agreement with Marmot Reports on policies. In particular, we agree with the focus on in early childhood investments in health and physical and cognitive development that have long term socioeconomic payoffs. We also endorse making society fairer, though mainly as a goal in itself rather than an instrument to reduce health inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Program on the Global Demography of Aging in its series PGDA Working Papers with number 7811.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:7811

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Web page: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda
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Keywords: health inequality; early childhood investments; Marmot Reports;

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  1. James Smith, 2005. "The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Labor Market Outcomes," Labor and Demography 0511001, EconWPA.
  2. 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.
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  8. Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Divergence, big time," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1522, The World Bank.
  9. David Canning, 2006. "The Economics of HIV/AIDS in Low-Income Countries: The Case for Prevention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 121-142, Summer.
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  12. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan, 2001. "Productivity Change in Health Care," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 281-286, May.
  13. Hoyt Bleakley, 2010. "Malaria Eradication in the Americas: A Retrospective Analysis of Childhood Exposure," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 1-45, April.
  14. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 277-291, March.
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