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Income inequality and self-rated health status: Evidence from the European Community Household Panel

  • Hildebrand, Vincent

    (Department of Economics, Glendon College, York University, Canada and CEPS/INSTEAD, G.-D. Luxembourg)

  • Van Kerm, Philippe

    (CEPS/INSTEAD, G.-D. Luxembourg)

We examine the effect of income inequality on individual self-rated health status in a pooled sample of 10 member states of the European Union using longitudinal data from the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) survey. Taking advantage of the longitudinal and cross-national nature of our data, and carefully modelling the self-reported health information, we avoid several of the pitfalls suffered by earlier studies on this topic. We calculate income inequality indices measured at two standard levels of geography (NUTS-0 and NUTS-1) and find consistent evidence that income inequality is negatively related to self-rated health status in the European Union for both men and women. However, despite its statistical significance, the magnitude of the impact of inequality on health is small.

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Paper provided by IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD in its series IRISS Working Paper Series with number 2005-01.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irs:iriswp:2005-01
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  1. Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey D. Milyo, 2001. "Income inequality and health," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 151-155.
  2. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1999. "Mortality, education, income and inequality among American cohorts," Working Papers 279, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  3. Atkinson, Tony & Cantillon, Bea & Marlier, Eric & Nolan, Brian, 2002. "Social Indicators: The EU and Social Inclusion," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253494, March.
  4. Gravelle, Hugh & Wildman, John & Sutton, Matthew, 2002. "Income, income inequality and health: what can we learn from aggregate data?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 577-589, February.
  5. Deaton, A., 2001. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Papers 200, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  6. Frank A. Cowell & Emmanuel Flachaire, 2004. "Income distribution and inequality measurement : the problem of extreme values," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v04101, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  7. Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 1999. "Re-Examining the Evidence of an Ecological Association between Income Inequality and Health," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9922, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  8. Franco Peracchi, 2002. "The European Community Household Panel: A review," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90.
  9. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
  10. Ulf-G. Gerdtham & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Absolute Income, Relative Income, Income Inequality, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  11. Paula K. Lorgelly & Joanne Lindley, 2008. "What is the relationship between income inequality and health? Evidence from the BHPS," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 249-265.
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