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Sometimes More Equal than Others How the choice of welfare indicator can affect the measurement of health inequalities and the incidence of public spending

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  • Magnus Lindelow

    (Centre for the Study of African Economies)

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    Abstract

    In recent years, a large body of empirical work has focused on measuring and explaining socioeconomic inequalities in health outcomes and health service use. In any effort to address these questions, analysts must confront the issue of how to measure socioeconomic status. In developing countries, socioeconomic status has typically been measured by per capita consumption or an asset index. Currently, there is only limited information on how the choice of welfare indicators affect the analysis of health inequalities and the incidence of public spending. The paper focuses on five key health service outcomes in Mozambique. It uses the concentration index approach to measures both socioeconomic inequality in the utilization of health services and the sensitivity of measured inequality to the choice of welfare indicator. The results illustrate that, at least in some contexts, the choice of welfare indicator can have a large and significant impact on socioeconomic inequalities in service use and on the “perceived” incidence of public spending. The findings point at the need to be cautious in measuring inequality, but also to extend and deepen the analysis of service use.

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    File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/dev/papers/0409/0409018.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0409018.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: 22 Sep 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0409018

    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 22
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    Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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    1. Yitzhaki, Shlomo & Slemrod, Joel, 1991. "Welfare Dominance: An Application to Commodity Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 480-96, June.
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    12. Heltberg, Rasmus & Simler, Kenneth & Tarp, Finn, 2003. "Public spending and poverty in Mozambique," FCND briefs, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 167, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. Wolfe, Barbara L & Behrman, Jere R, 1984. "Determinants of Women's Health Status and Health-Care Utilization in a Developing Country: A Latent Variable Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(4), pages 696-703, November.
    14. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam, 1992. "Equity in the delivery of health care: some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 389-411, December.
    15. David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
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