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The importance of individual heterogeneity in the decomposition of measures of socioeconomic inequality in health: An approach based on quantile regression

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  • Andrew M. Jones
  • Ángel López-Nicolás

Abstract

This paper shows how recently developed regression-based methods for the decomposition of health inequality can be extended to incorporate individual heterogeneity in the responses of health to the explanatory variables. We illustrate our method with an application to the Canadian NPHS of 1994. Our strategy for the estimation of heterogeneous responses is based on the quantile regression model. The results suggest that there is an important degree of heterogeneity in the association of health to explanatory variables which, in turn, accounts for a substantial percentage of inequality in observed health. A particularly interesting finding is that the marginal response of health to income is zero for healthy individuals but positive and significant for unhealthy individuals. The heterogeneity in the income response reduces both overall health inequality and income related health inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 626.

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Date of creation: Jun 2002
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:626

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: Health inequalities; unobserved heterogeneity; quantile regression;

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  1. Alberto Abadie & Joshua Angrist & Guido Imbens, 1999. "Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Effect of Subsidized Training on the Quantiles of Trainee Earnings," Working papers 99-16, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521608275, October.
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  6. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & Bleichrodt, Han & Calonge, Samuel & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna & Hakkinen, Unto & Leu, Robert E., 1997. "Income-related inequalities in health: some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 93-112, February.
  7. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Paci, Pierella, 1989. "Equity in the Finance and Delivery of Health Care: Some Tentative Cross-country Comparisons," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 89-112, Spring.
  8. Omar Arias & Kevin F. Hallock & Walter Sosa Escudero, 1999. "Individual Heterogeneity in the Returns to Schooling: Instrumental Variables Quantile Regression using Twins Data," Department of Economics, Working Papers 016, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
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Cited by:
  1. Costa-Font, Montserrat & Costa-Font, Joan, 2009. "Heterogeneous 'adaptation' and 'income effects' across self-reported health distribution?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 574-580, August.

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