The economic benefits of reducing health inequalities in eleven European populations

Marc Suhrcke, University of East Anglia
Silvia Meggiolaro, Università di Padova
Stefano Mazzuco, Università di Padova

In recent years there has been growing interest in studying the socio-economic inequalities in health and the economic benefits of reducing these inequalities. In this paper we use longitudinal data from SHARE survey to estimate the age and sex specific mortality rates by socioeconomic status (SES) for 11 European countries with the aim of studying the benefits of reducing mortality in the most disadvantaged classes. We start with the accurate description of existing inequalities by estimating the influence of the household total net worth (used as a proxy of SES) on mortality between waves using Cox survival regression models. In a second step, we construct life tables for each combination of country, sex and SES, and we estimated the number of real deaths in the population. Then, some "inequality reduction" scenarios are depicted by reducing the SES gradient for each country and providing an estimate of the hypothetical saved life-years. The same has been done using education as a proxy of SES.

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Presented in Session 1: International comparisons of health/mortality