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Measuring health inequality with realization of potential life years (RePLY)

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  • Kam Ki Tang
  • Dennis Petrie
  • D. S. Prasada Rao

Abstract

This paper proposes a new method to measure health inequalities that are caused by conditions amenable to policy intervention. The method is built on a technique that can separate avoidable and unavoidable mortality risks, using world mortality data compiled by the World Health Organization for the year 2000. The new method is applied to data from 191 countries. It is found that controlling for unavoidable mortality risks leads to a lower estimate of health inequality than otherwise, especially for developed countries. Furthermore, although countries with a higher life expectancy at birth tend to have lower health inequality, there are significant variations in health inequalities across countries with the same life expectancy. The results therefore support the WHO's plea for using health inequality as a distinct parameter from the average level of health in assessing the performance of health systems. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Kam Ki Tang & Dennis Petrie & D. S. Prasada Rao, 2009. "Measuring health inequality with realization of potential life years (RePLY)," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S1), pages 55-75, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:18:y:2009:i:s1:p:s55-s75
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1461
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/hec.1461
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Silber, Jacques, 1982. "Health and inequality : Some applications of uncertainty theory," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 16(19), pages 1663-1666, January.
    2. Cowell, F.A., 2000. "Measurement of inequality," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 87-166, Elsevier.
    3. Tang, Kam Ki & Chin, Jackie T.C. & Rao, D.S. Prasada, 2008. "Avoidable mortality risks and measurement of wellbeing and inequality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 624-641, May.
    4. Kam-Ki Tang & Denis Petrie & Prasada Rao, "undated". "The Climate Trap of Health Development: Empirical Analysis of the Effects of Climate and Income on Mortality," MRG Discussion Paper Series 1908, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    5. Allison, R. Andrew & Foster, James E., 2004. "Measuring health inequality using qualitative data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 505-524, May.
    6. Le Grand, Julian, 1987. "Inequalities in health : Some international comparisons," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 182-191.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dennis Petrie & Kam Ki Tang, 2008. "A Rethink on Measuring Health Inequalities Using the Gini Coefficient," Discussion Papers Series 381, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    2. David Warner & Prasada Rao & William E. Griffiths & Duangkamon Chotikapanich, 2011. "Global Inequality: Levels and Trends, 1993-2005," Discussion Papers Series 436, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    3. Dennis Petrie & Kam Tang & D. Rao, 2015. "Measuring Health Inequality with Realization of Conditional Potential Life Years (RCPLY)," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 21-44, May.
    4. Adriana Castelli & Olena Nizalova, 2011. "Avoidable mortality: what it means and how it is measured," Working Papers 063cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.

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