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A 'Health Kuznets' Curve'? Cross-Country and Longitudinal Evidence

  • Joan Costa-i-Font
  • Cristina Hernandez-Quevedo
  • Azusa Sato

The distribution of income related health inequalities appear to exhibit varying patterns when developing countries and developed countries are examined. One explanation is the existence of a health Kuznets’ curve. This paper sets out as an exploratory analysis to test the hypothesis of an inverse U shape pattern between both economic development (as measured by GDP per capita) and income inequalities in health (as measured by concentration indices). We draw upon two datasets, the World Health Survey and the European Community household survey. Our results show that income-related inequalities in self-reported health rise but tail off once a threshold level of economic development has been attained. Thus, there is a health Kuznets’ curve on per capita income, with a polynomial association where the tipping point lies around $26,000 to $38,700.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4446.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4446
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