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Accounting for differences in population health between the regions of the United Kingdom: a new measurement framework for ordinal data


  • Paul Allanson


The paper investigates the association between regional health outcomes and socioeconomic characteristics in the United Kingdom (UK), based on a recently proposed measure of the degree to which the populations of different regions occupy well-defined strata in the national health distribution. The headcount index of health stratification is well-defined even if only ordinal health data are available and has a straightforward interpretation as the population-weighted mean difference in the probabilities that the healthier of any randomly chosen pair of individuals will be from the region with the better rather than the worse population health. The paper provides alternative aggregate decompositions of the index based on the construction of counterfactual distributions using indirect and direct standardisation techniques, with the indirect aproach also providing the basis for a detailed decomposition of the composition effect. The empirical study shows that health stratification is largely due to differences in the socioeconomic and demographic composition of regions rather than in regional health outcomes conditional upon individual-level sociodemographic characteristics, with age, ethnicity and qualifications all more important factors than income.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Allanson, 2017. "Accounting for differences in population health between the regions of the United Kingdom: a new measurement framework for ordinal data," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 298, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  • Handle: RePEc:dun:dpaper:298

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    More about this item


    health stratification; regional analysis; decomposition analysis; ordinal data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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