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Measuring Progress in Health through Deprivation Indexes


  • Angela Testi

    () (School of Economics, University of Genoa, Italy)

  • Enrico Ivaldi

    () (School of Economics, University of Genoa, Italy)


Progress in health is usually measured by means of indicators of health status such as premature mortality ratio or life expectancy. There is evidence that in more developed countries, despite general health improvement, inequalities in health among individuals are worsening. Most of these inequalities, however, could be avoided because they are due to socioeconomic conditions, depending on the relation between socioeconomic conditions and health largely proved in literature. The main conclusion is that measuring progress in health should not be limited to health status, but should also consider health inequalities. The suggested method to quantify them is to follow the deprivation index approach. The analysis is applied to a case study where the comparison between health statuses of two Census periods is completed by estimating also the variability in health inequalities, proxied by the gradients in Standard Mortality Ratios [SMRs] among small areas with different socioeconomic conditions. The latter are quantified by an index of material deprivation previously developed based on 1991 and 2001 Census data.

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Testi & Enrico Ivaldi, 2011. "Measuring Progress in Health through Deprivation Indexes," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 1, pages 49-57, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bap:journl:110205

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 113-158, March.
    2. G Higgs & M L Senior & H C W L Williams, 1998. "Spatial and temporal variation of mortality and deprivation 1: widening health inequalities," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(9), pages 1661-1682, September.
    3. Romina Boarini & Marco Mira d'Ercole, 2006. "Measures of Material Deprivation in OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 37, OECD Publishing.
    4. Boyle, Paul J. & Gatrell, Anthony C. & Duke-Williams, Oliver, 1999. "The effect on morbidity of variability in deprivation and population stability in England and Wales: an investigation at small-area level," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 791-799, September.
    5. Angela Testi & Enrico Ivaldi, 2009. "Material versus social deprivation and health: a case study of an urban area," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 10(3), pages 323-328, July.
    6. G Higgs & M L Senior & H C W L Williams, 1998. "Spatial and Temporal Variation of Mortality and Deprivation 1: Widening Health Inequalities," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 30(9), pages 1661-1682, September.
    7. Fuchs, Victor R., 2004. "Reflections on the socio-economic correlates of health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 653-661, July.
    8. Gillian Lancaster & Mick Green, 2002. "Deprivation, ill-health and the ecological fallacy," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(2), pages 263-278.
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    Cited by:

    1. Riccardo Soliani & Alessia Di Gennaro & Enrico Ivaldi, 2012. "An Index of the Quality of Life for European Countries: Evidence of Deprivation from EU-SILC Data," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 2, pages 1-14, May.
    2. Claudia Burlando & Enrico Ivaldi, 2012. "An Indicator to Measure Inequality in the Provision of Local Public Transport in Italy," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 2, pages 43-54, November.

    More about this item


    Health economics; Health status; Deprivation; Data analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • C40 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - General
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access


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