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Health, Income and Inequality: Evidence from a Survey of Older Italians

Gabriella Berloffa (), Agar Brugiavini () and Dino Rizzi ()

Giornale degli Economisti, 2003, vol. 62, issue 1, 35-55

Abstract: This paper uses the Survey of Health, Ageing and Wealth (SHAW) to study the relationship between health status and economic welfare at individual level. We develop a model to estimate the welfare cost of ill-health: the terminology and the intuition go along the lines of the equivalence scale literature. While in that case the focus is on the welfare cost brought about by the presence of children, we measure the welfare cost of poor health. The crucial variables in this approach are, besides income and health status, the economic decisions of the household which can be directly related to health conditions, such as health-related expenses. By estimating a demand system we derive equivalence scales based also on health expenditures to learn about the cost of health conditions on economic welfare, controlling for other covariates. We show that households characterised by poor health are effectively “poorer” in an economic sense.

Keywords: health; inequality and welfare (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H31 H55 J26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003
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