Income Inequality and Health: Lessons from a Residential Assignment Program
AbstractThis paper investigates how income inequality affects health. Although a large literature has shown that inhabitants in areas with greater income inequality suffer from worse health, past studies are severely plagued by inadequate data, non-random residential sorting and reverse causality. We address these problems using longitudinal population hospitalization data coupled with a settlement policy where Swedish authorities distributed newly arrived refugee immigrants to their initial area of residence. The policy was implemented in a way that provides a source of plausibly random variation in initial location. Our empirical analysis reveals no statistically significant effect of income inequality on the probability of being hospitalized. This finding holds also when investigating subgroups more vulnerable to negative health influences and when studying different types of diseases. There is however some indications of a detrimental effect on older persons’ health; but the magnitude of the effect is small. Our estimates are precise enough to rule out large effects of income inequality on health.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London in its series Norface Discussion Paper Series with number 2011017.
Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Income inequality; Immigration; Quasi-experiment;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
- J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-10-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-HEA-2011-10-15 (Health Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2011-10-15 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-MIG-2011-10-15 (Economics of Human Migration)
- NEP-URE-2011-10-15 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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