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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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1614-1625

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:6:p:1614-1625
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  1. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931.
  2. Frank Cowell, 1998. "Measurement of inequality," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2084, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Benedicte Apouey, 2007. "Measuring health polarization with self-assessed health data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(9), pages 875-894.
  7. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  8. 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.
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