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Economic Inequality and Health: Looking Beyond Aggregate Indicators

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  • Böckerman, Petri
  • Johansson, Edvard
  • Helakorpi, Satu
  • Uutela, Antti

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between relative income inequality and health in Finland, using individual microdata over the period 1993-2005. Our data allows us to analyse a large spectrum of health indicators. Overall, our results suggest that income inequality is not associated with increased morbidity in the population. The results for women differ to quite a large extent from those of men and the pooled sample. There is evidence that an increase in the Gini coefficient is negatively related to the probability of good physical health and no disability retirement. For men, relative income inequality is clearly not important for health.

Suggested Citation

  • Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Helakorpi, Satu & Uutela, Antti, 2007. "Economic Inequality and Health: Looking Beyond Aggregate Indicators," MPRA Paper 5640, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5640
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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).
    2. Wilkinson, Richard G & Pickett, Kate E., 2006. "Income inequality and population health: A review and explanation of the evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(7), pages 1768-1784, April.
    3. Deaton, Angus & Lubotsky, Darren, 2003. "Mortality, inequality and race in American cities and states," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1139-1153, March.
    4. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters,in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Diez-Roux, Ana V. & Link, Bruce G. & Northridge, Mary E., 2000. "A multilevel analysis of income inequality and cardiovascular disease risk factors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 673-687, March.
    8. Petri Böckerman & Pekka Ilmakunnas, 2009. "Unemployment and self-assessed health: evidence from panel data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 161-179.
    9. Fuchs, Victor R., 2004. "Reflections on the socio-economic correlates of health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 653-661, July.
    10. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-338, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Petri Böckerman, 2013. "Top Income Shares and Mortality: Evidence from Advanced Countries," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 22(1), pages 57-69, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; health behaviour; economic inequality; relative income inequality; relative deprivation; Gini coefficient;

    JEL classification:

    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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