, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 347-351
Date: 09 Jan 2010

Decomposing socioeconomic health inequalities

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This Hints & Kinks paper describes a technique enabling quantification of the contributions of determinants to socioeconomic inequality in health. This technique, differing from an analysis investigating the determinants of average health levels, has received considerable attention from health economists (van Doorslaer and Gerdtham 2003; van Doorslaer and Jones 2003; van Doorslaer et al. 2004; Wagstaff et al. 2003) but only more recently from epidemiologists as well (Harper and Lynch 2007; Lynch 2006; Hosseinpoor et al. 2006). This paper employs the relative concentration index (RCI), described in Konings et al. (2009), to summarize relative inequality across the entire socioeconomic distribution. The RCI of a continuous health outcome y results from a relative concentration curve, which graphs on the x-axis the cumulative percentage of the sample, ranked by an indicator of socioeconomic position such as education or income beginning with the poorest. The y-axis then indicates the cumu ...

The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in the paper by named authors are solely the responsibility of those authors.