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Evidence on the relationship between income and poor health: is the government doing enough?


  • Michaela Benzeval
  • Jayne Taylor

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Ken Judge


The government’s report, Opportunity for All: Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion (Department of Social Security, 1999), identified poor health as one of the major problems associated with low income. However, much of the available evidence on the relationship between income and health is of little help in forming policies to reduce health inequalities, as it has tended to be based on cross-section surveys and is therefore unable to shed much light on causal effects. Here, we make use of two British longitudinal datasets to examine the longer-term influences of income on health within a life-course perspective. We then use the results of our analysis to provide a brief critical assessment of the likely success of the government’s anti-poverty strategy in reducing health inequalities. A more detailed assessment of government policy in this respect can be found in Benzeval et al. (forthcoming).

Suggested Citation

  • Michaela Benzeval & Jayne Taylor & Ken Judge, 2000. "Evidence on the relationship between income and poor health: is the government doing enough?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(3), pages 375-399, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:21:y:2000:i:3:p:375-399

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Contoyannis & Andrew M. Jones & Nigel Rice, 2004. "The dynamics of health in the British Household Panel Survey," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 473-503.
    2. Schnalzenberger, Mario, 2016. "Causal effect of income on health: Investigating two closely related policy reforms in Austria," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 6-16.
    3. Teresa Bago d'Uva, 2005. "Latent class models for use of primary care: evidence from a British panel," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(9), pages 873-892.
    4. Andrew M. Jones & Angel López Nicolás, 2004. "Measurement and explanation of socioeconomic inequality in health with longitudinal data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(10), pages 1015-1030.
    5. repec:bla:metroe:v:68:y:2017:i:3:p:398-424 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. David Cantarero & Marta Pascual, 2005. "Regional Differences In Health In Spain - An Empirical Analysis," ERSA conference papers ersa05p551, European Regional Science Association.
    7. MAZEIKAITE Gintare & O'DONOGHUE Cathal & SOLOGON Denisa, 2017. "Decomposing health inequality in the EU," LISER Working Paper Series 2017-02, LISER.
    8. Giovanis, Eleftherios & Ozdamar, Oznur, 2014. "The effects of Air Pollution on Health Status in Great Britain," MPRA Paper 59988, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Cristina Hernandez-Quevedo & Andrew M Jones & Nigel Rice, "undated". "Reporting Bias and Heterogeneity in Self-Assessed Health. Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Discussion Papers 04/18, Department of Economics, University of York.
    10. Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Jones, Andrew M. & Rice, Nigel, 2008. "Persistence in health limitations: A European comparative analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1472-1488, December.
    11. Amedeo Spadaro & Lucia Mangiavacchi & Ignacio Moral-Arce & Marta Adiego-Estella & Angela Blanco-Moreno, 2013. "Evaluating the redistributive impact of public health expenditure using an insurance value approach," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 14(5), pages 775-787, October.
    12. Alexander Silbersdorff & Julia Lynch & Stephan Klasen & Thomas Kneib, 2017. "Reconsidering the Income-Illness Relationship using Distributional Regression: An Application to Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 931, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    13. Costa-Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina, 2012. "Measuring inequalities in health: What do we know? What do we need to know?," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 195-206.
    14. Ken Judge & Iain Paterson, 2001. "Poverty, Income Inequality and Health," Treasury Working Paper Series 01/29, New Zealand Treasury.

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