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What difference does the choice of SES make in health inequality measurement?

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  • Adam Wagstaff
  • Naoko Watanabe

    (Development Data Group, The World Bank, Washington DC, USA)

Abstract

This note explores the implications for measuring socioeconomic inequality in health of choosing one measure of SES rather than another. Three points emerge. First, whilst similar rankings in the two the SES measures will result in similar inequalities, this is a sufficient condition not a necessary one. What matters is whether rank differences are correlated with health - if they are not, the measured degree of inequality will be the same. Second, the statistical importance of choosing one SES measure rather than another can be assessed simply by estimating an artificial regression. Third, in the 19 countries examined here, it seems for the most part to make little difference to the measured degree of socioeconomic inequalities in malnutrition among under-five children whether one measures SES by consumption or by an asset-based wealth index. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam Wagstaff & Naoko Watanabe, 2003. "What difference does the choice of SES make in health inequality measurement?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(10), pages 885-890.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:12:y:2003:i:10:p:885-890
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.805
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wagstaff, Adam & Paci, Pierella & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1991. "On the measurement of inequalities in health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 545-557, January.
    2. Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1994. "Automatic Lag Selection in Covariance Matrix Estimation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 631-653.
    3. Hentschel, J. & Lanjouw, P., 1996. "Constructing an Indicator of Consumption for the Analysis of Poverty. Principles and Illustrations with Reference to Ecuador," Papers 127, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    4. Michael A. Koenig & David Bishai & Mehrab Ali Khan, 2001. "Health Interventions and Health Equity: The Example of Measles Vaccination in Bangladesh," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(2), pages 283-302.
    5. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & Bleichrodt, Han & Calonge, Samuel & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna & Hakkinen, Unto & Leu, Robert E., 1997. "Income-related inequalities in health: some international comparisons," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 93-112, February.
    6. Filmer, Deon*Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
    7. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1994:84:6:932-937_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 1999. "The Effect of Household Wealth on Educational Attainment: Evidence from 35 Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(1), pages 85-120.
    9. Morris, Saul Sutkover & Calogero, Carletto & Hoddinott, John & Christiaensen, Luc J. M., 1999. "Validity of rapid estimates of household wealth and income for health surveys in rural Africa," FCND discussion papers 72, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Wagstaff, Adam & Watanabe, Naoko, 2000. "Socioeconomic inequalities in child malnutrition in the developing world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2434, The World Bank.
    11. Kakwani, Nanak & Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1997. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health: Measurement, computation, and statistical inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 87-103, March.
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