Measurement and explanation of socioeconomic inequality in health with longitudinal data



This paper presents a method to compare indices of inequality in health that are based on short-run and long-run measures of health and income. For pure health inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) and income-related health inequality (as measured by the concentration index), we show how measures derived from longitudinal data can be related to cross section Gini and concentration indices that have been typically reported in the literature to date, along with measures of health mobility inspired by the literature on income mobility. We also show how these measures of mobility can be usefully decomposed into the contributions of different factors. We apply these methods to investigate the degree of income-related mobility in the GHQ measure of psychological well-being in the first nine waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). This reveals that dynamics increase the absolute value of the concentration index of GHQ on income by 15%, or 1.7% per year on average, for men, and 5%, or 0.6% per year, for women. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.