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