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Comparing measures of health inequality

Author

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  • Manor, Orly
  • Matthews, Sharon
  • Power, Chris

Abstract

Several methods are available to measure social inequalities in health. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches, in particular the odds ratio, the slope and alpha. These methods are illustrated using data from subjects in the 1958 British birth cohort. The inequality measures are compared using health status at ages 23 and 33. Six health indicators are examined, including self-rated health, limiting long-standing illness, psychological health, respiratory symptoms, asthma and obesity. Two social indicators are compared, namely class at birth and educational qualifications. Conclusions do not differ substantially using the three methods for measuring inequality. However, consistent differences were evident between the measures of social position, with greater inequalities apparent for educational qualifications. Choice of social indicator therefore appears to be of primary importance in measuring health inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Manor, Orly & Matthews, Sharon & Power, Chris, 1997. "Comparing measures of health inequality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 761-771, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:45:y:1997:i:5:p:761-771
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Costa-Font, Montserrat & Costa-Font, Joan, 2009. "Heterogeneous 'adaptation' and 'income effects' across self-reported health distribution?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 574-580, August.
    2. -, 2006. "Social Panorama of Latin America 2005," Panorama Social de América Latina, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1224 edited by Eclac, December.
    3. Costa Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & McGuire, Alistair, 2011. "Persistence despite action? Measuring the patterns of health inequality in England (1997–2007)," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 149-159.
    4. Balia, Silvia & Jones, Andrew M., 2008. "Mortality, lifestyle and socio-economic status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-26, January.
    5. Dennis Petrie & Kam Ki Tang, 2008. "A Rethink on Measuring Health Inequalities Using the Gini Coefficient," Discussion Papers Series 381, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    6. Saloua Sehili & Elamin H. Elbasha & David G. Moriarty & Matthew M. Zack, 2005. "Inequalities in self-reported physical health in the United States, 1993-1999," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 377-389.
    7. Kate Levin & Torbjorn Torsheim & Wilma Vollebergh & Matthias Richter & Carolyn Davies & Christina Schnohr & Pernille Due & Candace Currie, 2011. "National Income and Income Inequality, Family Affluence and Life Satisfaction Among 13 year Old Boys and Girls: A Multilevel Study in 35 Countries," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 104(2), pages 179-194, November.

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