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

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  • Joan Costa Font
  • Joan Gil Trasfi

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Joan Costa Font & Joan Gil Trasfi, 2006. "Socio-Economic Inequalities in Reported Depression in Spain : A Decomposition Approach," Working Papers in Economics 152, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bar:bedcje:2006152
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Watanabe, Naoko, 2003. "On decomposing the causes of health sector inequalities with an application to malnutrition inequalities in Vietnam," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 207-223, January.
    2. Pilar García‐Gómez & Erik Schokkaert & Tom Van Ourti & Teresa Bago d'Uva, 2015. "Inequity in the Face of Death," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(10), pages 1348-1367, October.
    3. 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.
    4. Pilar García Gómez & Ángel López, 2004. "Regional differences in socio-economic health inequalities in Spain," Economics Working Papers 757, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2004.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    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. World Bank, 2003. "Mental Health," World Bank Other Operational Studies 9719, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Annelle Bellony & Alejandro Hoyos & Hugo Nopo, 2010. "Gender Earnings Gaps in the Caribbean: Evidence from Barbados and Jamaica," Research Department Publications 4683, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Natalia Melgar & Máximo Rossi, 2012. "A Cross‐Country Analysis of the Risk Factors for Depression at the Micro and Macro Levels," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 354-376, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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