'Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who in this Land is Fairest of All?' Distributional Sensitivity in the Measurement of Socioeconomic Inequality of Health

Department of Economics, University of Antwerp, City Campus, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium.
Journal of Health Economics (Impact Factor: 2.58). 11/2011; 31(1):257-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.10.009
Source: PubMed


This paper explores four alternative indices for measuring health inequalities in a way that takes into account attitudes towards inequality. First, we revisit the extended concentration index which has been proposed to make it possible to introduce changes into the distributional value judgements implicit in the standard concentration index. Next, we suggest an alternative index based on a different weighting scheme. In contrast to the extended concentration index, this new index has the 'symmetry' property. We also show how these indices can be generalized so that they satisfy the 'mirror' property, which may be seen as a desirable property when dealing with bounded variables. We compare the different indices empirically for under-five mortality rates and the number of antenatal visits in developing countries.

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