Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 120: Measuring Income-Related Health Inequalities in Sweden

Ulf-G Gerdtham () and Gun Sundberg
Additional contact information
Ulf-G Gerdtham: Centre for Health Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Gun Sundberg: Department of Economics, Postal: Box 513, 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: In Sweden, health, measured as self-assessed health, is distributed fairly evenly in an international perspective. The purpose of this paper is to study whether specific disorders and diseases also are distributed fairly evenly. There are 44 diseases or disorders dealt with in this study, from a common cold or cough to serious diseases such as cancer and heart attack. All disorders and diseases are rated on a three-point scale. The data used are the Swedish Level of Living Survey from 1981 and 1991 (LNU81 and LNU91), where income data received from the National Tax Statistics have been linked to the LNU data. The method is the same as the one used by the EC-group on equity, where the different disorders and diseases are measured by concentration indices. All 44 illness conditions are age and sex standardized. The income measure is disposable household income per equivalent adult. The results show that even if there are no inequalities in health in Sweden, there are significant inequalities in diseases and disorders, as well as differences between the two periods 1980 and 1990. In general, the inequalities in the diseases and disorders were less obvious in 1980 than in 1990.

Keywords: Equity; distribution; inequalities; health

JEL-codes: C30

26 pages, September 1996

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