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Measurement and Explanation of Socioeconomic Inequality in Health with Longitudinal Data

  • Andrew M. Jones
  • Angel López

This paper presents a method to compare indices of inequality in health that are based on short-run and long-run measures of health and income. For pure health inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) and income-related health inequality (as measured by the concentration index), we show how measures derived from longitudinal data can be related to cross section Gini and concentration indices that have been typically reported in the literature to date, along with measures of health mobility inspired by the literature on income mobility. We also show how these measures of mobility can be usefully decomposed into the contributions of different factors. We apply these methods to investigate the degree of income-related mobility in the GHQ measure of psychological well-being in the first nine waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). This reveals that dynamics increase the absolute value of the concentration index of GHQ on income by 15%, or 1.7% per year on average, for men, and 5%, or 0.6% per year, for women.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 35.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:35
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  1. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
  2. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Paci, Pierella, 1989. "Equity in the Finance and Delivery of Health Care: Some Tentative Cross-country Comparisons," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 89-112, Spring.
  3. Canto, Olga, 2000. "Income Mobility in Spain: How Much Is There?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 85-102, March.
  4. Bommier, Antoine & Stecklov, Guy, 2002. "Defining health inequality: why Rawls succeeds where social welfare theory fails," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 497-513, May.
  5. Jarvis, Sarah & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1998. "How Much Income Mobility Is There in Britain?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 428-43, March.
  6. Paul Contoyannis & Andrew M. Jones & Nigel Rice, 2002. "Simulation-based Inference in Dynamic Panel Probit Models: an Application to Health," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-12, McMaster University.
  7. Shorrocks, Anthony, 1978. "Income inequality and income mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 376-393, December.
  8. Paul Contoyannis & Andrew M. Jones & Nigel Rice, 2004. "The dynamics of health in the British Household Panel Survey," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 473-503.
  9. Alan Williams, 1997. "Intergenerational Equity: An Exploration of the 'Fair Innings' Argument," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(2), pages 117-132.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Michaela Benzeval & Jayne Taylor & Ken Judge, 2000. "Evidence on the relationship between income and poor health: is the government doing enough?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(3), pages 375-399, September.
  14. 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.
  15. Doorslaer, Eddy van & Jones, Andrew M., 2003. "Inequalities in self-reported health: validation of a new approach to measurement," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 61-87, January.
  16. Williams, Alan & Cookson, Richard, 2000. "Equity in health," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 35, pages 1863-1910 Elsevier.
  17. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1989. "Improving the accuracy of estimates of Gini coefficients," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 43-47, September.
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