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Health inequalities in the European Union: an empirical analysis of the dynamics of regional differences

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  • Laia Maynou
  • Marc Saez

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  • Jordi Bacaria
  • Guillem Lopez-Casasnovas

Abstract

In a panel setting, we analyse the speed of (beta) convergence of (cause-specific) mortality and life expectancy at birth in EU countries between 1995 and 2009. Our contribution is threefold. First, in contrast to earlier literature, we allow the convergence rate to vary, and thereby uncover significant differences in the speed of convergence across time and regions. Second, we control for spatial correlations across regions. Third, we estimate convergence among regions, rather than countries, and thereby highlight noteworthy variations within a country. Although we find (beta) convergence on average, we also identify significant differences in the catching-up process across both time and regions. Moreover, we use the coefficient of variation to measure the dynamics of dispersion levels of mortality and life expectancy (sigma convergence) and, surprisingly, find no reduction, on average, in dispersion levels. Consequently, if the reduction of dispersion is the ultimate measure of convergence, then, to the best of our knowledge, our study is the first that shows a lack of convergence in health across EU regions. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

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  • Laia Maynou & Marc Saez & Jordi Bacaria & Guillem Lopez-Casasnovas, 2015. "Health inequalities in the European Union: an empirical analysis of the dynamics of regional differences," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(5), pages 543-559, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eujhec:v:16:y:2015:i:5:p:543-559
    DOI: 10.1007/s10198-014-0609-1
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health convergence; Beta convergence; Sigma convergence; Catching-up; Spatiotemporal modelling; Bayesian models; Integrated nested Laplace approximation; I14; I15; C33; C11;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General

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