Inadequate Bivariate Measures of Health Inequality: The Impact of Income Distribution

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Volume 114, Issue 2,  pages 323–333, June 2012

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9442.2011.01691.x


Bivariate measures of health inequality are influenced by changes in two variables: health and a socioeconomic variable such as income. For these measures, what is reported as an increase in health inequality may just as well be a reduction in income inequality. In particular, several papers have found that socioeconomic health inequalities in Nordic countries are no less than in other European countries. The correct interpretation may just be that income inequality is no higher in Nordic countries than in the rest of Europe. The problem is especially profound when the causality is running from health to income.

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By Kjell Arne Brekke and Snorre Kverndokk
Published Jan. 23, 2012 11:00 AM - Last modified July 31, 2015 11:50 AM