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Inequality of Opportunities in Health and the Principle of Natural Reward: Evidence from European Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Damien Bricard

    () (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine)

  • Florence Jusot

    (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine, Legos - Laboratoire d'Economie et de Gestion des Organisations de Santé - Université Paris-Dauphine)

  • Alain Trannoy

    (EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales, GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

  • Sandy Tubeuf

Abstract

This chapter aims to quantify and compare inequalities of opportunity in health across European countries considering two alternative normative ways of treating the correlation between effort, as measured by lifestyles, and circumstances, as measured by parental and childhood characteristics, championed by Brian Barry and John Roemer. This study relies on regression analysis and proposes several measures of inequality of opportunity. Data from the Retrospective Survey of SHARELIFE, which focuses on life histories of European people aged 50 and over, are used. In Europe at the whole, inequalities of opportunity stand for almost 50% of the health inequality due to circumstances and efforts in Barry scenario and 57.5% in Roemer scenario. The comparison of the magnitude of inequalities of opportunity in health across European countries shows considerable inequalities in Austria, France, Spain and Germany, whereas Sweden, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland present the lowest inequalities of opportunity. The normative principle on the way to treat the correlation between circumstances and efforts makes little difference in Spain, Austria, Greece, France, Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland, whereas it would matter the most in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Poland and Denmark. In most countries, inequalities of opportunity in health are mainly driven by social background affecting adult health directly, and so would require policies compensating for poorer initial conditions. On the other hand, our results suggest a strong social and family determinism of lifestyles in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Poland and Denmark, which emphasises the importance of inequalities of opportunity in health within those countries and calls for targeted prevention policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Damien Bricard & Florence Jusot & Alain Trannoy & Sandy Tubeuf, 2013. "Inequality of Opportunities in Health and the Principle of Natural Reward: Evidence from European Countries," Post-Print hal-01499643, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01499643
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-amu.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01499643
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    Cited by:

    1. MUSSARD Stéphane & PI ALPERIN Maria Noel & THIREAU Véronique, 2016. "Aggregable Health Inequality Indices," LISER Working Paper Series 2016-11, LISER.
    2. DEUTSCH Joseph & PI ALPERIN Maria Noel & SILBER Jacques, 2016. "Disentangling the impacts of circumstances and efforts on health inequality: the case of Luxembourg," LISER Working Paper Series 2016-07, LISER.
    3. John E. Roemer & Alain Trannoy, 2013. "Equality of Opportunity," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1921, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. John E. Roemer & Alain Trannoy, 2016. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1288-1332, December.

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    Keywords

    Economie quantitative;

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