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How averse are the UK general public to inequalities in health between socioeconomic groups? A systematic review

Simon McNamara (), John Holmes, Abigail K. Stevely and Aki Tsuchiya
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Simon McNamara: University of Sheffield
John Holmes: University of Sheffield
Abigail K. Stevely: University of Sheffield
Aki Tsuchiya: University of Sheffield

The European Journal of Health Economics, 2020, vol. 21, issue 2, No 10, 275-285

Abstract: Abstract There is growing interest in the use of “distributionally-sensitive” forms of economic evaluation that capture both the impact of an intervention upon average population health and the distribution of that health amongst the population. This review aims to inform the conduct of distributionally sensitive evaluations in the UK by answering three questions: (1) How averse are the UK public towards inequalities in lifetime health between socioeconomic groups? (2) Does this aversion differ depending upon the type of health under consideration? (3) Are the UK public as averse to inequalities in health between socioeconomic groups as they are to inequalities in health between neutrally framed groups? EMBASE, MEDLINE, EconLit, and SSCI were searched for stated preference studies relevant to these questions in October 2017. Of the 2155 potentially relevant papers identified, 15 met the predefined hierarchical eligibility criteria. Seven elicited aversion to inequalities in health between socioeconomic groups, and eight elicited aversion between neutrally labelled groups. We find general, although not universal, evidence for aversion to inequalities in lifetime health between socioeconomic groups, albeit with significant variation in the strength of that preference across studies. Second, limited evidence regarding the impact of the type of health upon aversion. Third, some evidence that the UK public are more averse to inequalities in lifetime health when those inequalities are presented in the context of socioeconomic inequality than when presented in isolation.

Keywords: Health inequality aversion; Social preferences; Equity weighting; Fair innings; Systematic review (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I14 D04 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10198-019-01126-2

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