Socioeconomic inequalities in old-age mortality: A comparison of Denmark and the USA
Previous studies have reported important variations in the magnitude of health inequalities between countries that belong to different welfare systems. This suggests that there is scope for reducing health inequalities by means of country-level interventions. The present study adds to this literature by exploring whether the magnitude of socioeconomic inequalities in mortality is associated with social inequality levels. Denmark and the USA belong to fundamentally different welfare systems (social democratic and liberal) and our study thereby contributes to the ongoing debate on whether welfare systems are linked to health inequalities. We analyze Denmark and the USA in terms of socioeconomic differences in mortality above age 58. The data sources were Danish register data from 1980 to 2002 (nÂ =Â 2,029,324), and survey data from the US Health and Retirement Study (HRS) from 1992 to 2006 (nÂ =Â 9374). Survival analysis was used to study the impact of socioeconomic status on mortality and the magnitude of mortality differences between the two countries was compared. The results showed surprisingly that mortality differentials were larger in Denmark than in the USA even after controlling for a number of covariates: The poorest 10 percent of the Danish elderly population have a mortality rate ratio of 3.32 (men) and 3.70 (women) compared to the richest 25 percent. In the USA the corresponding rate ratios are 1.67 and 1.56. Low income seems to be a more powerful risk factor for mortality than low education. A number of possible explanations for higher mortality differences in Denmark are discussed: unintended positive correlation between generous health services and health inequality, early life influences, mortality selection, and relative deprivation.
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.
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.
Volume (Year): 72 (2011)
Issue (Month): 12 (June)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:12:p:1986-1992. 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.