An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health
To examine the relationship between income inequality and health, it is necessary to obtain balanced and representative measures of these variables. Identifying such measures may seem difficult, but in fact, the problem is quite the opposite, as numerous measures that mirror both inequality and health are available. The difficulty, therefore, is choosing which of these measures is most suitable for an investigation. In this chapter and the next, we present the most commonly used measures of health and inequality utilized by scholars and discuss their usefulness for capturing the relevant aspects of the concepts they are supposed to capture. We begin with measures of health, which are often divided into objective measures and subjective measures. At times, the review may seem overly focused on details and impenetrable, but there is a purpose to this arrangement, as the selection of measures can have a major impact on the results of a scientific study. Realizing the importance of using appropriate and accurate measures is crucial to interpreting and assessing the existing research. As we show below, the observed relationship between economic inequality and individual health may depend on which health measures are used.
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