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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2003

Joan Costa and Jaume Garcia

This paper empirically examines the inequalities related to social class and income using individual self‐reported health status data. Health inequalities are estimated by…

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Abstract

This paper empirically examines the inequalities related to social class and income using individual self‐reported health status data. Health inequalities are estimated by different indexes using individual standardised and unstandardised health status data. The population was divided into income and social class, respectively. From this two main results are obtatined: inequalities are sensitive to the health status variable and the social position variable employed. It was found that significant health related social class inequalities were insignificant when income was employed as a reference variable.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 30 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2004

John Asafu‐Adjaye

This paper investigates the effect of income inequality on health status. A model of health status was specified in which the main variables were income level, income…

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3486

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of income inequality on health status. A model of health status was specified in which the main variables were income level, income inequality, the level of savings and the level of education. The model was estimated using a panel data set for 44 countries covering six time periods. The results indicate that income inequality (measured by the Gini coefficient) has a significant effect on health status when we control for the levels of income, savings and education. The relationship is consistent regardless of the specification of health status and income. Thus, the study results provide some empirical support for the income inequality hypothesis.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 31 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part
Publication date: 30 December 2013

Therese Nilsson and Andreas Bergh

There is an on-going debate as to whether health is negatively affected by economic inequality. Still, we have limited knowledge of the mechanisms relating inequality to…

Abstract

There is an on-going debate as to whether health is negatively affected by economic inequality. Still, we have limited knowledge of the mechanisms relating inequality to individual health and very little evidence comes from less-developed economies. We use individual and multi-level data from Zambia on child nutritional health to test three hypotheses consistent with a negative correlation between income inequality and population health: the absolute income hypothesis (AIH), the relative income hypothesis (RIH) and the income inequality hypothesis (IIH). The results confirm that absolute income positively affects health. For the RIH we find sensitivity to the reference group used. Most interestingly, we find higher income inequality to robustly associate with better child health. The same pattern appears in a cross country regression. To explain the conflicting results in the literature we suggest examining potential mediators such as generosity, food sharing, trust and purchasing power.

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Health and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-553-1

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Book part
Publication date: 30 December 2013

Gustav Kjellsson and Ulf-G. Gerdtham

What change in the distribution of a population’s health preserves the level of inequality? The answer to this analogous question in the context of income inequality lies…

Abstract

What change in the distribution of a population’s health preserves the level of inequality? The answer to this analogous question in the context of income inequality lies somewhere between a uniform and a proportional change. These polar positions represent the absolute and relative inequality equivalence criterion (IEC), respectively. A bounded health variable may be presented in terms of both health attainments and shortfalls. As a distributional change cannot simultaneously be proportional to attainments and to shortfalls, relative inequality measures may rank populations differently from the two perspectives. In contrast to the literature that stresses the importance of measuring inequality in attainments and shortfalls consistently using an absolute IEC, this chapter formalizes a new compromise concept for a bounded variable by explicitly considering the two relative IECs, defined with respect to attainments and shortfalls, to represent the polar cases of defensible positions.

We use a surplus-sharing approach to provide new insights on commonly used inequality indices by evaluating the underpinning IECs in terms of how infinitesimal surpluses of health must be successively distributed to preserve the level of inequality. We derive a one-parameter IEC that, unlike those implicit in commonly used indices, assigns constant weights to the polar cases independent of the health distribution.

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Health and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-553-1

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Book part
Publication date: 30 December 2013

Jens Leth Hougaard, Juan D. Moreno-Ternero and Lars Peter Østerdal

Health outcomes are often described according to two dimensions: quality of life and quantity of life. We analyze the measurement of inequality of health distributions…

Abstract

Health outcomes are often described according to two dimensions: quality of life and quantity of life. We analyze the measurement of inequality of health distributions referring to these two dimensions. Our analysis relies on a novel treatment of the quality-of-life dimension, which might not have a standard mathematical structure. We single out two families of (absolute and relative) multidimensional health inequality indices, inspired by the classical normative approach to income inequality measurement. We also discuss how to extend the analysis to deal with the related problem of health deprivation measurement in this setting.

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Health and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-553-1

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Book part
Publication date: 30 December 2013

Pilar García-Gómez, Erik Schokkaert and Tom Van Ourti

Most politicians and ethical observers are not interested in pure health inequalities, as they want to distinguish between different causes of health differences. Measures…

Abstract

Most politicians and ethical observers are not interested in pure health inequalities, as they want to distinguish between different causes of health differences. Measures of “unfair” inequality – direct unfairness and the fairness gap, but also the popular standardized concentration index (CI) – therefore neutralize the effects of what are considered to be “legitimate” causes of inequality. This neutralization is performed by putting a subset of the explanatory variables at reference values, for example, their means. We analyze how the inequality ranking of different policies depends on the specific choice of reference values. We show with mortality data from the Netherlands that the problem is empirically relevant and we suggest a statistical method for fixing the reference values.

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Health Policy, Power and Politics: Sociological Insights
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-394-4

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Book part
Publication date: 30 December 2013

Mohammad Abu-Zaineh and Ramses H. Abul Naga

Recent decades have witnessed a rising interest in the measurement of inequality from a multidimensional perspective. This literature has however remained largely…

Abstract

Recent decades have witnessed a rising interest in the measurement of inequality from a multidimensional perspective. This literature has however remained largely theoretical. This chapter presents an empirical application of a recent methodology and in doing so offers practical insights on how multidimensional inequality can be measured over two attributes (wealth and health) in the developing country context. Following Abul Naga and Geoffard (2006), a methodological framework allowing the decomposition of multidimensional inequality into two univariate Atkinson–Kolm–Sen equality indices and a third term measuring the association between the attributes is implemented. The methodology is then illustrated using data from the World Health Surveys 2002–2003. Specifically, this study presents the first comparative analysis on multidimensional inequality for a set of Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. Results reveal that the multidimensional (in-)equality indices tend to mimic the (in-)equality ordering of the wealth distributions as the latter are always less equally distributed than health. An empirical conclusion that emerges is that reducing the correlation between the attributes may help to reduce overall welfare inequality, specifically when socioeconomic inequality in health is pro-poor. The finding that the correlation between attributes has a significant contribution in the quantification of inequality has important policy implications since it reveals that it is not only wealth and health inequalities per se that matter in the measurement of welfare inequality but also the associations between them.

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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2019

Frank Agyire-Tettey, Derek Asuman, Bernardin Senadza and Lucia Addae

This study aims to estimate the degree and nature of socioeconomic-related inequalities in sexual and reproductive health in Ghana and further assesses causes of these…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to estimate the degree and nature of socioeconomic-related inequalities in sexual and reproductive health in Ghana and further assesses causes of these inequalities using decomposition technique. The authors assess the contribution of personal characteristics of the woman including access to health information and health seeking behaviours, household and locational characteristics to inequalities in sexual and reproductive health in Ghana. The study uses data from the three rounds of the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2003, 2008 and 2014.

Design/methodology/approach

Two indicators – use of modern contraceptives and intention to use modern contraceptives – are used to measure sexual and reproductive health of sexually active women. A wealth index, based on household ownership of assets, consumer goods and living conditions, is used as a measure of socioeconomic status. The paper estimates a concentration index to the relationship between cumulative health and socioeconomic rank. Paper procedures to apply decomposition techniques to determine the causes of socioeconomic inequalities in health based on a linear health regression model.

Findings

The study finds evidence of varying degrees of socioeconomic-related inequalities in sexual and reproductive health indicators. Specifically, the study finds that whilst use of modern contraceptives was concentrated among women in households with high socioeconomic status in 2003 and 2008, modern contraceptive use was prevalent among women in low socioeconomic status households in 2014. Equally, the study finds significant pro-poor inequalities in the intentions to use modern contraceptives in 2003 and 2014. The degree of socioeconomic inequalities in the intentions to use modern contraceptives increased between 2003 and 2014.

Originality/value

There is the lack of evidence on the degree, nature and causes of socioeconomic-related inequalities, which in tend impedes the design and implementation of sexual and reproductive health policies targeted at vulnerable and under-served populations. In addition, there is the need to study inequalities in health over time to monitor progress of health delivery systems towards equitable and universal coverage and understand the evolution of the determinants.

Details

International Journal of Development Issues, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1446-8956

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2018

Ali Kazemi Karyani, Satar Rezaei, Behzad Karami Matin and Saeed Amini

Poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is one of the important issues in the health sector. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the prevalence and…

Abstract

Purpose

Poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is one of the important issues in the health sector. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the prevalence and socio-economic inequality in poor HRQoL in Tehran city, Iran.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 562 adults were included in this cross-sectional study. The cluster sampling method was used for data collection from May to June, 2016 in Tehran city, Iran. Data on HRQoL, using EuroQol 5-dimensions questionnaire, and data on socio-economic and demographic variables were gathered. Convenience regression method was performed to measure the concentration index (CI). Decomposition analysis was performed to determine the contribution of variables on socio-economic inequality in poor HRQoL. All analyses were performed by Stata v.14.

Findings

The prevalence of poor HRQoL was 28.3 percent. The value of CI for “poor HRQoL” was −0.299 (95% confidence interval: −0.402 to −0.195). Socio-economic status (SES) was the largest contributor to socio-economic inequality in poor HRQoL (69.44 percent of inequality was explained by SES). Age, obesity and race had a positive contribution to socio-economic inequality in poor HRQoL among the participants. Nonetheless, sex and smoking intensity had a negative contribution to inequality in poor HRQoL.

Originality/value

There is little evidence about the prevalence of poor HRQoL in insured people. This study provided new evidence in this area through the investigation of socio-economic inequality in poor HRQoL and its determinants among people with health insurance in Iran using decomposition analysis.

Details

International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4902

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