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Socio-Economic Inequalities in Reported Depression in Spain : A Decomposition Approach

  • Joan Costa Font
  • Joan Gil Trasfi

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

Recent evidence questions some conventional view on the existence of income-related inequalities in depression suggesting in turn that other determinants might be in place, such as activity status and educational attainment. Evidence of socio-economic inequalities is especially relevant in countries such as Spain that have a limited coverage of mental health care and are regionally heterogeneous. This paper aims at measuring and explaining the degree of socio-economic inequality in reported depression in Spain. We employ linear probability models to estimate the concentration index and its decomposition drawing from 2003 edition of the Spanish National Health Survey, the most recent representative health survey in Spain. Our findings point towards the existence of avoidable inequalities in the prevalence of reported depression. However, besides pure income effects explaining 37% of inequality, economic activity status (28%), education (15%) and demographics (15%) play also a key encompassing role. Although high income implies higher resources to invest and cure (mental) illness, environmental factors influencing in peoples perceived social status act as indirect path as explaining the prevalence of depression. Finally, we find evidence of a gender effect, gender social-economic inequality in income is mainly avoidable.

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Paper provided by Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 152.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bar:bedcje:2006152
Contact details of provider: Postal: Espai de Recerca en Economia, Facultat de Ciències Econòmiques. Tinent Coronel Valenzuela, Num 1-11 08034 Barcelona. Spain.
Web page: http://www.ere.ub.es

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  1. Pilar García Gómez & Ángel López, 2004. "Regional differences in socio-economic health inequalities in Spain," Working Papers, Research Center on Health and Economics 757, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2004.
  2. Pilar Garcia-Gomez & Erik Schokkaert & Tom Van Ourti & Teresa Bago d'Uva, 2012. "Inequity in the Face of Death," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-084/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & van der Burg, Hattem & Christiansen, Terkel & De Graeve, Diana & Duchesne, Inge & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna, 2000. "Equity in the delivery of health care in Europe and the US," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 553-583, September.
  4. GARCIA-GOMEZ, Pilar & SCHOKKAERT, Erik & VAN OURTI, Tom & BAGO D’UVA, Teresa, 2012. "Inequity in the face of death," CORE Discussion Papers 2012024, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Frank, Richard G. & McGuire, Thomas G., 2000. "Economics and mental health," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 893-954 Elsevier.
  6. Wagstaff, Adam & Van Doorslaer, Eddy & Watanabe, Naoko, 2001. "On decomposing the causes of health sector inequalities with an application to malnutrition inequalities in Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2714, The World Bank.
  7. Wildman, John, 2003. "Income related inequalities in mental health in Great Britain: analysing the causes of health inequality over time," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 295-312, March.
  8. Eddy van Doorslaer & Xander Koolman, 2004. "Explaining the differences in income-related health inequalities across European countries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 609-628.
  9. World Bank, 2003. "Mental Health," World Bank Other Operational Studies 9719, The World Bank.
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