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Inequality of opportunity in health: a decomposition-based approach

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  • Carrieri, V.
  • Jones, M.A.

Abstract

This paper presents a decomposition-based approach to measure inequality in health that captures Roemer’s distinction between circumstances and effort. Our approach builds on a decomposition of the Gini index with heterogeneous responses and is extended to decompose an inequality of opportunity Gini index inspired by the “fairness gap†principle. An original feature of our empirical analysis is the use of objectively measured biomarker as health outcomes and as proxies for relevant effort variables. Using data from the Health Survey for England from 2003 to 2012, we find that circumstances are the leading determinant of inequality in cholesterol, glycated haemoglobin, fibrinogen and mean arterial pressure. Moreover, we find a strong interaction between circumstances and effort leading to a smaller effect of effort on health for individuals in worse circumstances. Among the effort factors, we find that healthy diet and physical activity play the largest role in shaping objective health.

Suggested Citation

  • Carrieri, V. & Jones, M.A., 2016. "Inequality of opportunity in health: a decomposition-based approach," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 16/05, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:16/05
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Davillas, A. & Jones, A.M., 2020. "The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on inequality of opportunity in psychological distress in the UK," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 20/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. Davillas, A. & Jones, A.M., 2020. "The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on inequality of opportunity in psychological distress in the UK," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 20/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. Chen, Xi & Yan, Binjian & Gill, Thomas M., 2020. "Childhood Circumstances and Health Inequality in Old Age: Comparative Evidence from China and the United States," GLO Discussion Paper Series 594, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Vincenzo Carrieri & Apostolos Davillas & Andrew M. Jones, 2020. "A latent class approach to inequity in health using biomarker data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(7), pages 808-826, July.
    5. Ding, L. & Jones, A.M. & Nie, P., 2020. "Ex ante Inequality of Opportunity in Health among the Elderly in China: A Distributional Decomposition Analysis of Biomarkers," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 20/10, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    6. Davillas, Apostolos & Jones, Andrew M, 2020. "Ex ante inequality of opportunity in health, decomposition and distributional analysis of biomarkers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    7. Nie, P. & Ding, L. & Jones, A.M., 2020. "Inequality of opportunity in bodyweight among middle-aged and older Chinese: a distributional approach," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 20/14, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    8. Andrew M. Jones, 2019. "Equity, opportunity and health," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 413-421, August.
    9. Pedro Salas-Rojo & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2019. "The distribution of wealth in the U.S. and Spain: the role of socio-economic factors," Working Papers 506, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    10. Nie, Peng & Ding, Lanlin & Jones, Andrew M., 2020. "Inequality of Opportunity in Bodyweight among Middle-Aged and Older Chinese: A Distributional Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 13421, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Carrieri, Vincenzo & Jones, Andrew M., 2018. "Intergenerational transmission of nicotine within families: Have e-cigarettes influenced passive smoking?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 83-93.
    12. Xi Chen & Binjian Yan & Thomas M. Gill, 0. "Childhood Circumstances and Health Inequality in Old Age: Comparative Evidence from China and the USA," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-28.
    13. Carrieri, V.; Jones, A.M.;, 2017. "Intergenerational transmission of nicotine within families: have e-cigarettes had an impact?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/03, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    biomarkers; decomposition analysis; health inequalities; inequality of opportunity;

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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