Health Inequalities Through the Lens of Health Capital Theory: Issues, Solutions, and Future Directions

28 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2013

See all articles by Titus J. Galama

Titus J. Galama

USC Center for Economic and Social Research

Hans van Kippersluis

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)

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Date Written: June 25, 2013

Abstract

The authors explore what health-capital theory has to offer in terms of informing and directing research into health inequality. They argue that economic theory can help in identifying mechanisms through which specific socioeconomic indicators and health interact. Their reading of the literature, and their own work, leads them to conclude that non-degenerate versions of the Grossman model (1972a;b) and its extensions can explain many salient stylized facts on health inequalities. Yet, further development is required in at least two directions. First, a childhood phase needs to be incorporated, in recognition of the importance of childhood endowments and investments in the determination of later-life socioeconomic and health outcomes. Second, a unified theory of joint investment in skill (or human) capital and in health capital could provide a basis for a theory of the relationship between education and health.

JEL Classification: D91, I12, I14, J24

Suggested Citation

Galama, Titus J. and van Kippersluis, Hans, Health Inequalities Through the Lens of Health Capital Theory: Issues, Solutions, and Future Directions (June 25, 2013). RAND Working Paper Series WR- 1011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2302906 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2302906

Titus J. Galama (Contact Author)

USC Center for Economic and Social Research ( email )

Playa Vista, CA
United States
+310 430 6358 (Phone)

Hans Van Kippersluis

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

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