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Measurement of Health, the Sensitivity of the Concentration Index, and Reporting Heterogeneity

  • Nicolas R. Ziebarth

Using representative survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) for 2006, we show that the magnitude of such health inequality measures as the concentration index (CI) depends crucially on the underlying health measure. The highest degree of inequality is found when dichotomized subjective health measures like health satisfaction or self-assessed health (SAH) are employed. Measures of medical care usage like doctor visits result in substantially lower concentration indices. Moreover, with the use of SF12, a generic health measure, the inequality indicator is reduced by a factor of ten. Scaling SAH by means of the SF12 leads to similar results to those with the pure SF12 measure. Employing generic health measures used with other populations like the Canadian HUI-III or the Finish 15D to cardinalize SAH has a significant impact on the degree of inequality measured. Finally, by contrasting the physical health component of the SF12 to the unambiguously objective grip strength measure, we provide evidence of the presence of income-related reporting heterogeneity in generic health measures.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_02.c.298946.de/dp916.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 916.

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Length: 39 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp916
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  16. Hendrik Jürges, 2006. "True health vs. response styles: Exploring cross-country differences in self-reported health," MEA discussion paper series 06105, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  17. Marta Pascual & David Cantarero & José Sarabia, 2005. "Income Inequality and Health: Do the Equivalence Scales Matter?," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 33(2), pages 169-178, June.
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  24. Jorgen Lauridsen & Terkel Christiansen & Unto Häkkinen, 2004. "Measuring inequality in self-reported health-discussion of a recently suggested approach using Finnish data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 725-732.
  25. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Gerdtham, Ulf-G., 2003. "Does inequality in self-assessed health predict inequality in survival by income? Evidence from Swedish data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(9), pages 1621-1629, November.
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