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Correcting the concentration index: A comment

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  • Wagstaff, Adam

Abstract

In a recent article in this journal, Erreygers [Erreygers, G., 2008. Correcting the concentration index. Journal of Health Economics] has proposed a new measure of income-related health inequality to overcome three shortcomings of the concentration index (CI). I think Erreygers is absolutely right to probe on these issues, and I welcome his generalization of my normalization which was specific to the case of a binary health indicator. However, I have misgivings about his paper. His goal of correcting the CI so as to make it usable with interval-scale variables seems misguided. The CI reflects a commitment on the part of the analyst to measuring relative inequality. Armed only with an interval-scale variable, one simply has to accept that one can meaningfully measure only differences and therefore settle for measuring absolute inequality. Erreygers, index inevitably ends up as a measure of absolute inequality. His objection to my approach to getting round the bounds problem is that my normalization of the CI does not produce a measure of absolute inequality. But that was never my intention! In this comment I also show that - somewhat paradoxically at first glance - my index is also not a pure index of relative inequality. This seems to be an inevitable consequence of tackling the bounds issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Wagstaff, Adam, 2009. "Correcting the concentration index: A comment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 516-520, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:2:p:516-520
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