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Absolute Income, Relative Income, Income Inequality, and Mortality

  • Ulf-G. Gerdtham
  • Magnus Johannesson

We test whether mortality is related to individual income, mean community income, and community income inequality, controlling for initial health status and personal characteristics. The analysis is based on a random sample from the adult Swedish population of more than 40,000 individuals who were followed up for 10–17 years. We find that mortality decreases significantly as individual income increases. For mean community income and community income inequality we cannot, however, reject the null hypothesis of no effect on mortality. This result is stable with respect to a number of measurement and specification issues explored in an extensive sensitivity analysis.

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File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/XXXIX/1/228
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 39 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:39:y:2004:i:1:p228-247
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  2. Gravelle, Hugh & Wildman, John & Sutton, Matthew, 2002. "Income, income inequality and health: what can we learn from aggregate data?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 577-589, February.
  3. Bishop, John A & Formby, John P & Smith, W James, 1991. "International Comparisons of Income Inequality: Tests for Lorenz Dominance across Nine Countries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(232), pages 461-77, November.
  4. Lutter, Randall & Morrall, John F, III, 1994. "Health-Health Analysis: A New Way to Evaluate Health and Safety Regulation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 43-66, January.
  5. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Johannesson, Magnus, 2002. " Do Life-Saving Regulations Save Lives?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 231-49, May.
  6. Chapman, Kenneth S & Hariharan, Govind, 1994. "Controlling for Causality in the Link from Income to Mortality," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 85-93, January.
  7. Waldmann, Robert J, 1992. "Income Distribution and Infant Mortality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1283-302, November.
  8. Chapman, Kenneth S & Hariharan, Govind, 1994. "Controlling for Causality in the Link from Income Mortality: Errata," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 320, May.
  9. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  10. Soobader, Mah-Jabeen & LeClere, Felicia B., 1999. "Aggregation and the measurement of income inequality: effects on morbidity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 733-744, March.
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