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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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Keywords: health inequality; early childhood investments; Marmot Reports;

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  2. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Cutler, David & McClellan, Mark, 2001. "Productivity Change in Health Care," Scholarly Articles 2640585, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  11. 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.
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  13. Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Divergence, big time," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1522, The World Bank.
  14. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
  15. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
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