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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

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Paolo Brunori & Alain Trannoy & Caterina Francesca Guidi, 2021. "Ranking populations in terms of inequality of health opportunity: A flexible latent type approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 358-383, February.
    3. Apostolos Davillas & Andrew M Jones, 2021. "The first wave of the COVID‐19 pandemic and its impact on socioeconomic inequality in psychological distress in the UK," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(7), pages 1668-1683, July.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Fernando Antonio Slaibe Postali & Maria Dolores M Diaz, Adriano Dutra Teixeira, Natalia Nunes Ferreira Batista, Rodrigo Moreno Serra, 2021. "Impact of primary care coverage on individual health: evidence from biomarkers in Brazil," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2021_01, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    7. 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.
    8. Carrieri, Vincenzo & Davillas, Apostolos & Jones, Andrew M., 2021. "Equality of Opportunity and the Expansion of Higher Education in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 14485, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. 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).
    10. 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.
    11. Ding, Lanlin & Jones, Andrew M. & Nie, Peng, 2020. "Ex Ante Inequality of Opportunity in Health among the Elderly in China: A Distributional Decomposition Analysis of Biomarkers," IZA Discussion Papers 13292, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Atkins, Rose & Turner, Alex James & Chandola, Tarani & Sutton, Matt, 2020. "Going beyond the mean in examining relationships of adolescent non-cognitive skills with health-related quality of life and biomarkers in later-life," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).
    13. Namal N. Balasooriya & Jayatilleke S. Bandara & Nicholas Rohde, 2021. "The intergenerational effects of socioeconomic inequality on unhealthy bodyweight," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(4), pages 729-747, April.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    biomarkers; decomposition analysis; health inequalities; inequality of opportunity;
    All these keywords.

    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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