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A general method for decomposing the causes of socioeconomic inequality in health

Journal article
Authors Gustav Kjellsson
Gawain Heckley
Ulf Gerdtham
Published in Journal of Health Economics
Volume 48
Pages 89–106
ISSN 0167-6296
Publication year 2016
Published at Centre for Health Economics
Department of Economics
Pages 89–106
Language en
Keywords Inequality measurement, Concentration index, Decomposition methods, Recentered influence function
Subject categories Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy, Economics


We introduce a general decomposition method applicable to all forms of bivariate rank dependent indices of socioeconomic inequality in health, including the concentration index. The technique is based on recentered influence function regression and requires only the application of OLS to a transformed variable with similar interpretation. Our method requires few identifying assumptions to yield valid estimates in most common empirical applications, unlike current methods favoured in the literature. Using the Swedish Twin Registry and a within twin pair fixed effects identification strategy, our new method finds no evidence of a causal effect of education on income-related health inequality.

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