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Effort or Circumstances: Does the Correlation Matter for Inequality of Opportunity in Health?

  • Florence Jusot


    (LEDa-LEGOS (Université Paris-Dauphine))

  • Sandy Tubeuf


    (Academic Unit of Health Economics (University of Leeds))

  • Alain Trannoy


    (EHESS Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales - GREQAM-IDEP Institut d’économie publique)

This paper proposes a method to quantify the contribution of inequalities of opportunities and inequalities due to differences in effort to be in good health to overall health inequality. It examines three alternative specifications of legitimate and illegitimate inequalities drawing on Roemer, Barry and Swift’s considerations of circumstances and effort. The issue at stake is how to treat the correlation between circumstances and effort. Using a representative French health survey undertaken in 2006 and partly designed for this purpose, and the natural decomposition of the variance, the contribution of circumstances to inequalities in self-assessed health only differs of a few percentage points according to the approach. The same applies for the contribution of effort which represents at most 8%, while circumstances can account for up to 46%. The remaining part is due to the impact of age and sex.

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Paper provided by IRDES institut for research and information in health economics in its series Working Papers with number DT33.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision: Jul 2010
Handle: RePEc:irh:wpaper:dt33
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  1. Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, 2008. "Maternal employment and overweight children: does timing matter?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(8), pages 889-906.
  2. Teresa Bago d'Uva & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Maarten Lindeboom & Owen O'Donnell, 2008. "Does reporting heterogeneity bias the measurement of health disparities?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 351-375.
  3. Silja Göhlmann & Christoph M. Schmidt & Harald Tauchmann, 2010. "Smoking initiation in Germany: the role of intergenerational transmission," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 227-242.
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