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Health Inequalities through the Lens of Health Capital Theory: Issues, Solutions, and Future Directions

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  • Titus J. Galama

    (University of Southern California, Dornsife College Center for Economic and Social Research, USA, and RAND Corporation, USA)

  • Hans van Kippersluis

    (Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Abstract

This discussion paper resulted in a chapter in: (Pedro Rosa Dias and Owen O’Donnell (eds)) 'Research on Economic Inequality' , Volume 21: Health and Inequality, Emerald Group Publishing, 2013. We explore what health-capital theory has to offer in terms of informing and directing research into health inequality. We argue that economic theory can help in identifying mechanisms through which specific socioeconomic indicators and health interact. Our reading of the literature, and our own work, leads us to conclude that non-degenerate versions of the Grossman model (1972a;b) and its extensions can explain many salient stylized facts on health inequalities. Yet, further development is required in at least two directions. First, a childhood phase needs to be incorporated, in recognition of the importance of childhood endowments and investments in the determination of later-life socioeconomic and health outcomes. Second, a unified theory of joint investment in skill (or human) capital and in health capital could provide a basis for a theory of the relationship between education and health.

Suggested Citation

  • Titus J. Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2013. "Health Inequalities through the Lens of Health Capital Theory: Issues, Solutions, and Future Directions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-076/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20130076
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    3. Bolin, Kristian & Lindgren, Björn, 2016. "Non-monotonic health behaviours – implications for individual health-related behaviour in a demand-for-health framework," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 9-26.
    4. Titus J. Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2015. "A Theory of Education and Health," CINCH Working Paper Series 1503, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health, revised Mar 2015.
    5. Mohammed Shuaibu & Popoola Timothy Oladayo, 2016. "Determinants Of Human Capital Development In Africa: A Panel Data Analysis," Oeconomia Copernicana, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 7(4), pages 523-549, December.
    6. Amin, Vikesh & Behrman, Jere R. & Fletcher, Jason M. & Flores, Carlos A. & Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2019. "Mental Health, Schooling Attainment and Polygenic Scores: Are There Significant Gene-Environment Associations?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 362, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Titus J Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2019. "A Theory of Socio-economic Disparities in Health over the Life Cycle," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(617), pages 338-374.
    8. Vikesh Amin & Jere R. Behrman & Jason M. Fletcher & Carlos A. Flores & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2020. "Mental Health, Schooling Attainment and Polygenic Scores: Are There Significant Genetic-Environmental Associations?," PIER Working Paper Archive 20-007, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
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    10. Vincens, Natalia & Emmelin, Maria & Stafström, Martin, 2018. "Social capital, income inequality and the social gradient in self-rated health in Latin America: A fixed effects analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 196(C), pages 115-122.
    11. Titus Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2022. "Human-Capital Formation: The Importance of Endogenous Longevity," Working Papers 2022-009, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
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    13. Rinshu Dwivedi & Jalandhar Pradhan & Ramesh Athe, 2021. "Measuring catastrophe in paying for healthcare: A comparative methodological approach by using National Sample Survey, India," International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(5), pages 1887-1915, September.
    14. Burggraf, Christine, 2017. "Russian demand for dietary quality: Nutrition transition, diet quality measurement, and health investment theory," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies 269539, Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
    15. Abdulkarim M. Meraya & Nilanjana Dwibedi & Xi Tan & Kim Innes & Sophie Mitra & Usha Sambamoorthi, 2018. "The dynamic relationships between economic status and health measures among working‐age adults in the United States," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(8), pages 1160-1174, August.
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    Keywords

    Health Capital Models; Health Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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