IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Unfair inequalities in health and health care

  • Fleurbaey, Marc
  • Schokkaert, Erik

Inequalities in health and health care are caused by different factors. Measuring "unfair" inequalities implies that a distinction is introduced between causal variables leading to ethically legitimate inequalities and causal variables leading to ethically illegitimate inequalities. An example of the former could be life-style choices, an example of the latter is social background. We show how to derive measures of unfair inequalities in health and in health care delivery from a structural model of health care and health production: "direct unfairness", linked to the variations in medical expenditures and health in the hypothetical distribution in which all legitimate sources of variation are kept constant; "fairness gap", linked to the differences between the actual distribution and the hypothetical distribution in which all illegitimate sources of variation have been removed. These two approaches are related to the theory of fair allocation. In general they lead to different results. We propose to analyse the resulting distributions with the traditional apparatus of Lorenz curves and inequality measures. We compare our proposal to the more common approach using concentration curves and analyse the relationship with the methods of direct and indirect standardization. We discuss how inequalities in health care can be integrated in an overall evaluation of social inequality.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8K-4T84JXH-1/2/05d960a34e5165ad2f88cd80d40d9ed8
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 under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 73-90

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:1:p:73-90
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Eddy van Doorslaer & Xander Koolman & Andrew M. Jones, 2004. "Explaining income-related inequalities in doctor utilisation in Europe," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 629-647.
  2. John E. Roemer, 2002. "Equality of opportunity: A progress report," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 455-471, April.
  3. Hurley, Jeremiah, 2000. "An overview of the normative economics of the health sector," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 55-118 Elsevier.
  4. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1992. "Equity in the finance of health care: Some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 361-387, December.
  5. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Watanabe, Naoko, 2003. "On decomposing the causes of health sector inequalities with an application to malnutrition inequalities in Vietnam," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 207-223, January.
  6. Adam Wagstaff & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2000. "Measuring and Testing for Inequity in the Delivery of Health Care," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 716-733.
  7. Schokkaert, Erik & Van de Voorde, Carine, 2004. "Risk selection and the specification of the conventional risk adjustment formula," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1237-1259, November.
  8. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & van der Burg, Hattem & Calonge, Samuel & Christiansen, Terkel & Citoni, Guido & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Gerfin, Mike & Gross, Lorna & Hakinnen, Unto, 1999. "Equity in the finance of health care: some further international comparisons1," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 263-290, June.
  9. Pedro Rosa Dias & Andrew M. Jones, 2007. "Giving equality of opportunity a fair innings," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 109-112.
  10. Goddard, Maria & Smith, Peter, 2001. "Equity of access to health care services: : Theory and evidence from the UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(9), pages 1149-1162, November.
  11. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 277-291, March.
  12. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam, 1992. "Equity in the delivery of health care: some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 389-411, December.
  13. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Paci, Pierella, 1991. "On the measurement of horizontal inequity in the delivery of health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 169-205, July.
  14. ERREYGERS, Guido, 2006. "Beyond the Health Concentration Index: An Atkinson alternative for the measurement of the socioeconomic inequality of health," Working Papers 2006029, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  15. Erik SCHOKKAERT & Carine VAN DE VOORDE, 2006. "Incentives for risk selection and omitted variables in the risk adjustment formula," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 83-84, pages 327-351.
  16. Marc FLEURBAEY, 2006. "Health, equity and social welfare," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 83-84, pages 21-59.
  17. Mooney, Gavin & Hall, Jane & Donaldson, Cam & Gerard, Karen, 1991. "Utilisation as a measure of equity: weighing heat?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 475-480.
  18. Abul Naga, Ramses H. & Geoffard, Pierre-Yves, 2006. "Decomposition of bivariate inequality indices by attributes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 362-367, March.
  19. Marc Fleurbaey, 2005. "Health, Wealth, and Fairness," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(2), pages 253-284, 05.
  20. Eddy van Doorslaer & Xander Koolman, 2004. "Explaining the differences in income-related health inequalities across European countries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 609-628.
  21. 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.
  22. Hugh Gravelle, 2003. "Measuring income related inequality in health: standardisation and the partial concentration index," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(10), pages 803-819.
  23. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & van der Burg, Hattem & Christiansen, Terkel & De Graeve, Diana & Duchesne, Inge & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna, 2000. "Equity in the delivery of health care in Europe and the US," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 553-583, September.
  24. Xander Koolman & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2004. "On the interpretation of a concentration index of inequality," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 649-656.
  25. LUTTENS, Roland Iwan & VAN DE GAER, Dirk, . "Lorenz dominance and non-welfaristic redistribution," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1950, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  26. Erik Schokkaert & Geert Dhaene & Carine Van De Voorde, 1998. "Risk adjustment and the trade-off between efficiency and risk selection: an application of the theory of fair compensation," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(5), pages 465-480.
  27. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2008. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199215911.
  28. Doorslaer, Eddy van & Jones, Andrew M., 2003. "Inequalities in self-reported health: validation of a new approach to measurement," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 61-87, January.
  29. Williams, Alan & Cookson, Richard, 2000. "Equity in health," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 35, pages 1863-1910 Elsevier.
  30. Culyer, A. J. & Wagstaff, Adam, 1993. "Equity and equality in health and health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 431-457, December.
  31. Bleichrodt, Han & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2006. "A welfare economics foundation for health inequality measurement," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 945-957, September.
  32. Adam Wagstaff & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2004. "Overall versus socioeconomic health inequality: a measurement framework and two empirical illustrations," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(3), pages 297-301.
  33. Tom Van Ourti, 2004. "Measuring horizontal inequity in Belgian health care using a Gaussian random effects two part count data model," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 705-724.
  34. Tsuchiya, Aki & Williams, Alan, 2005. "A "fair innings" between the sexes: are men being treated inequitably?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 277-286, January.
  35. Wagstaff, Adam, 2002. "Inequality aversion, health inequalities, and health achievement," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2765, The World Bank.
  36. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2000. "Chapter 34 Equity in health care finance and delivery," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 34, pages 1803-1862 Elsevier.
  37. Matthew Sutton, 2002. "Vertical and horizontal aspects of socio-economic inequity in general practitioner contacts in Scotland," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 537-549.
  38. Andrew M. JONES & Xander KOOLMAN & Eddy VAN DOORSLAER, 2006. "The impact of having supplementary private health insurance on the uses of specialists," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 83-84, pages 251-275.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:1:p:73-90. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.