Working Paper Series
Income Inequality and Individual Health: Exploring the Association in a Developing Country
() and Andreas Bergh
Abstract: We use individual and multi-level data from Zambia on
child nutritional health to test the absolute income hypothesis (AIH), the
relative income hypothesis (RIH) and the income inequality hypothesis
(IIH). The results confirm a non-linear positive relation between economic
resources and health, confirming the AIH. For the RIH we find sensitivity
to what reference group is used. Most interestingly, while the IIH predicts
that income inequality, independent from individual income, will affect
health negatively, we find higher income inequality to robustly associate
with better child health. The results suggest that the relationship between
inequality and health in developing contexts might be very different from
the predominant view in the existing literature mainly based on developed
countries, and that alternative mechanisms might mediate the relationship
in poor countries.
Keywords: Health; Economic inequality; Zambia; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D31; I10; I12; O10; (follow links to similar papers)
31 pages, January 20, 2012
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- This paper is published as:
Nilsson, Therese and Andreas Bergh, (2014), 'Income Inequality and Individual Health: Exploring the Association in a Developing Country' in Bishop, John (ed.) Research on Economic Inequality Volume 21: Health and Inequality, chapter 17, pages 441-468, Emerald.
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