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

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  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ignacio Abásolo & Aki Tsuchiya, 2013. "Egalitarianism and Altruism in Health: To What Extent Are They Related?," Working Papers 2013003, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2013003
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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/articles/2013_003.html
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Abasolo, Ignacio & Tsuchiya, Aki, 2004. "Exploring social welfare functions and violation of monotonicity: an example from inequalities in health--a reply to Jan Abel Olsen," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 333-334, March.
    2. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-685, May.
    3. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Paci, Pierella, 1989. "Equity in the Finance and Delivery of Health Care: Some Tentative Cross-country Comparisons," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 89-112, Spring.
    4. Johansson,Per-Olov, 1991. "An Introduction to Modern Welfare Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521356954.
    5. John Hudson & Philip Jones, 2002. "In search of the good samaritan: estimating the impact of 'altruism' on voters' preferences," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 377-383.
    6. Abasolo, Ignacio & Tsuchiya, Aki, 2004. "Exploring social welfare functions and violation of monotonicity: an example from inequalities in health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 313-329, March.
    7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    8. Culyer, A J, 1989. "The Normative Economics of Health Care Finance and Provision," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 34-58, Spring.
    9. Becker, Gary S, 1976. "Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 817-826, September.
    10. Ignacio Abasolo & Aki Tsuchiya, 2008. "Understanding preference for egalitarian policies in health: are age and sex determinants?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(19), pages 2451-2461.
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    Keywords

    egalitarism; altruism; health;

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