Income Inequality and Individual Health: Exploring the Association in a Developing Country
We use individual and multi-level data from Zambia on child nutritional health to test the absolute income hypothesis (AIH), the relative income hypothesis (RIH) and the income inequality hypothesis (IIH). The results confirm a non-linear positive relation between economic resources and health, confirming the AIH. For the RIH we find sensitivity to what reference group is used. Most interestingly, while the IIH predicts that income inequality, independent from individual income, will affect health negatively, we find higher income inequality to robustly associate with better child health. The results suggest that the relationship between inequality and health in developing contexts might be very different from the predominant view in the existing literature mainly based on developed countries, and that alternative mechanisms might mediate the relationship in poor countries.
|Date of creation:||20 Jan 2012|
|Publication status:||Published in Research on Economic Inequality Volume 21: Health and Inequality, Bishop, John (eds.), 2014, chapter 17, pages 441-468, Emerald.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden|
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
Web page: http://www.ifn.se/
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- Andrew Leigh & Christopher Jencks, 2006. "Inequality and Mortality: Long-Run Evidence from a Panel of Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 533, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
- Behrman, Jere R., 1988. "Nutrition, health, birth order and seasonality : Intrahousehold allocation among children in rural India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 43-62, February.
- Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Lyttkens, Carl Hampus & Leeson, George, 2010. "Income inequality and health: Importance of a cross-country perspective," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 875-885, March. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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