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Using copulas to measure association between ordinal measures of health and income


  • Casey Quinn


This paper introduces a new approach to measuring the association between health and socioeconomic status. Measuring inequalities in health is difficult when health is measured qualitatively, specifically on an ordinal scale. This paper demonstrates a rank-based dependence measure - the copula - that is invariant to both the scale and any monotonic transformations of its dimensions. Accordingly, the copula measure of association between health and income is robust under different cardinal scales for health as well as different income distributions, and can be used for ordering countries. The copula is also used to generate contingency tables of joint probability, which illustrate how this ordering can be due to polarity in the distributions of health and income, as well as stronger association between the distributions of health and income.

Suggested Citation

  • Casey Quinn, 2007. "Using copulas to measure association between ordinal measures of health and income," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 07/24, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:07/24

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    Cited by:

    1. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Maria Ana Lugo, 2013. "Multidimensional Poverty Analysis: Looking for a Middle Ground," The World Bank Research Observer, World Bank, vol. 28(2), pages 220-235, August.
    2. Maike Hohberg & Francesco Donat & Giampiero Marra & Thomas Kneib, 2021. "Beyond unidimensional poverty analysis using distributional copula models for mixed ordered‐continuous outcomes," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1365-1390, November.
    3. Koen Decancq, 2020. "Measuring cumulative deprivation and affluence based on the diagonal dependence diagram," METRON, Springer;Sapienza Università di Roma, vol. 78(2), pages 103-117, August.
    4. Anthony Atkinson, 2011. "On lateral thinking," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 9(3), pages 319-328, September.
    5. Giovanna Scarcilli, 2024. "Studying the evolution of cumulative deprivation among European countries with a copula-based approach," Working Papers 667, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    6. Koen Decancq, 2023. "Cumulative deprivation: identification and aggregation," Chapters, in: Udaya R. Wagle (ed.), Research Handbook on Poverty and Inequality, chapter 4, pages 52-67, Edward Elgar Publishing.

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