Socioeconomic inequalities in health: a comparative longitudinal analysis using the European Community Household Panel
We measure socioeconomic inequalities in health across European Union Member States between 1994 and 2001. The analysis is based on the European Community Household Panel Users’ Database (ECHP-UDB) and uses two binary indicators of health limitations for the full 8 waves of available data. Short-run and long-run concentration indices together with mobility and health achievement indices are derived for indicators of severe health limitation and any health limitation. Results demonstrate the existence of “pro-rich” inequality in health across Member States in both the short-term and the long-term, with health limitations concentrated among those with lower incomes. For all countries, the long-run indices show that income-related inequalities in health are widening over time, in the sense that the longer the period over which health and income are measured, the greater is the measure of income-related health inequality. The ranking of countries by long-run inequalities differs from that by overall health achievement; an equity-efficiency trade-off has to be faced in evaluating their performance and comparing countries with diverse health and social welfare systems.
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