IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Inequality measurement for ordered response health data


  • Abul Naga, Ramses H.
  • Yalcin, Tarik


Because self-reported health status [SRHS] is an ordered response variable, inequality measurement for SRHS data requires a numerical scale for converting individual responses into a summary statistic. The choice of scale is however problematic, since small variations in the numerical scale may reverse the ordering of a given pair of distributions of SRHS data in relation to conventional inequality indices such as the variance. This paper introduces a parametric family of inequality indices, founded on an inequality ordering proposed by Allison and Foster [Allison, R.A., Foster, J., 2004. Measuring health inequalities using qualitative data. Journal of Health Economics 23, 505-524], which satisfy a suitable invariance property with respect to the choice of numerical scale. Several key members of the parametric family are also derived, and an empirical application using data from the Swiss Health Survey illustrates the proposed methodology.

Suggested Citation

  • Abul Naga, Ramses H. & Yalcin, Tarik, 2008. "Inequality measurement for ordered response health data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1614-1625, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:6:p:1614-1625

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Benedicte Apouey, 2007. "Measuring health polarization with self-assessed health data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(9), pages 875-894.
    2. Wagstaff, Adam & Paci, Pierella & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1991. "On the measurement of inequalities in health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 545-557, January.
    3. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
    4. Bommier, Antoine & Stecklov, Guy, 2002. "Defining health inequality: why Rawls succeeds where social welfare theory fails," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 497-513, May.
    5. Cowell, F.A., 2000. "Measurement of inequality," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 87-166 Elsevier.
    6. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931, June.
    7. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    8. Allison, R. Andrew & Foster, James E., 2004. "Measuring health inequality using qualitative data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 505-524, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Self-reported health status Inequality orderings Inequality measures;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:6:p:1614-1625. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.