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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Health Economics Review 1/2017

Income-related inequalities in diseases and health conditions over the business cycle

Health Economics Review > Ausgabe 1/2017
Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir, Hildur Margrét Jóhannsdóttir


How business cycles affect income-related distribution of diseases and health disorders is largely unknown. We examine how the prevalence of thirty diseases and health conditions is distributed across the income spectrum using survey data collected in Iceland in 2007, 2009 and 2012. Thus, we are able to take advantage of the unusually sharp changes in economic conditions in Iceland during the Great Recession initiated in 2008 and the partial recovery that had already taken place by 2012 to analyze how income-related health inequality changed across time periods that can be described as a boom, crisis and recovery. The concentration curve and the concentration index are calculated for each disease, both overall and by gender. In all cases, we find a considerable income-related health inequality favoring higher income individuals, with a slight increase over the study period. Between 2007 and 2009, our results indicate increased inequality for women but decreased inequality for men. Between 2009 and 2012 on the contrary, men’s inequality increases but women’s decreases. The overarching result is thus that the economic hardship of the crisis temporarily increased female income-related health inequality, but decreased that of men.
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