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Inequality and Health: Is Housing Crowding the Link?

Author

Listed:
  • Sholeh A. Maani

    () (The University of Auckland)

  • Rhema Vaithianathan

    () (The University of Auckland)

  • Barbara Wolfe

    () (The University of Wisconsin)

Abstract

In this study we extend the literature (e.g. Deaton, 2002a; Kennedy and Kawachi, 1996; Wilkinson, 1996) by proposing a new mechanism through which income inequality can influence health. We argue that increased income inequality induces household crowding, which in turn leads to increased rates of infectious diseases. We use data from New Zealand that links hospital discharge rates with community-level characteristics to explore this hypothesis. Our results provide support for a differential effect of income inequality and housing crowding on rates of hospital admissions for infectious diseases among children. Importantly, we find that genetic and non-communicable diseases do not show these joint crowding and inequality effects. The effect of housing on communicable diseases provides a biological foundation for an income inequality gradient.

Suggested Citation

  • Sholeh A. Maani & Rhema Vaithianathan & Barbara Wolfe, 2006. "Inequality and Health: Is Housing Crowding the Link?," Working Papers 06_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtu:wpaper:06_09
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    File URL: http://motu-www.motu.org.nz/wpapers/06_09.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Matlack, Janna L. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2008. "Do rising tides lift all prices? Income inequality and housing affordability," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 212-224, September.
    2. Des O'Dea, 2000. "The Changes in New Zealand's Income Distribution," Treasury Working Paper Series 00/13, New Zealand Treasury.
    3. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
    4. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-872.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fiel & Fiel (ed.), 2007. "La Desigualdad en la Salud," Books at FIEL, FIEL, edition 1, volume 1, number 1107.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing crowding; child health outcomes; income inequality;

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