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Egalitarianism and Altruism in Health: To What Extent Are They Related?

  • Ignacio Abásolo

    (Departamento de Economía de las Instituciones, Estadística y Econometría, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales. Universidad de La Laguna, Campus de Guajara. Tenerife. Spain)

  • Aki Tsuchiya


    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

The theoretical constructs of egalitarianism and altruism are different from each other, yet there may be associations between the two at the empirical level. This paper explores the empirical relationship between egalitarianism and altruism, in the context of health. A representative sample of the Spanish population was interviewed in 2004 (n=801). We specify a model that explains the propensity of an individual to be egalitarian in terms of altruism and other background characteristics. In this paper, individuals who prefer a hypothetical policy that reduces inequality in health outcomes over another that does not are regarded ‘egalitarian’. 'Altruism' in the health context is captured by whether or not the same respondents are (or have been) regular blood donors, provided they are medically able to donate. Probit models are specified to estimate the relationship between egalitarianism and altruism, thus defined. Overall, 75% of respondents are found to be egalitarians, whilst 34% are found to be altruists. We find that, once controlled for background characteristics, there is a statistically significant empirical relationship between egalitarianism and altruism in the health context. In particular, altruist individuals have an 11% higher probability to be egalitarians than those who are not.

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Paper provided by The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013003.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2013003
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