Causes of Inequality in Health: Who are You? Where Do You Live? Or Who Your Parents Were?

26 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Adam Wagstaff

Adam Wagstaff

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Pierella Paci

World Bank

Heather Joshi

University of London - Center for Longitudinal Studies

Date Written: November 30, 2001

Abstract

Data from the British National Child Development Study show that, among 33-year-olds, ill health (as measured by cardinalized responses to a question on self-assessed health) is concentrated among the worse off. The authors seek to decompose the inequalities in health status into their socioeconomic causes. In this decomposition, inequalities in health status depend on inequalities in each of the underlying determinants of health and on the elasticities of health status with respect to each of these determinants. The authors estimate these elasticities using regression models that allow for unobserved heterogeneity at the community level. They find that inequalities in unobserved community-level influences account for only 6 percent of health inequality, and inequalities in parental education and social class for only 4 percent. Inequalities in income and housing tenure account for most health inequality, though inequalities in educational attainment and in math scores at age seven also play a part.

Keywords: Health Systems Development & Reform, Public Health Promotion, Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Early Child and Children's Health, Disease Control & Prevention, Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems, Housing & Human Habitats, Gender and Health, Regional Rural Development

Suggested Citation

Wagstaff, Adam and Paci, Pierella and Joshi, Heather, Causes of Inequality in Health: Who are You? Where Do You Live? Or Who Your Parents Were? (November 30, 2001). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2713. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2443998

Adam Wagstaff (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/awagstaff

Pierella Paci

World Bank ( email )

Washington, DC 20433
United States

Heather Joshi

University of London - Center for Longitudinal Studies ( email )

20 Bedford Way
London, WC1 OAL
United Kingdom
0171 612 6874 (Phone)
0171 612 6880 (Fax)

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