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Revisiting Health and Income Inequality Relationship:Evidence from Developing Countries

Pulok, Mohammad Habibullah (2012): Revisiting Health and Income Inequality Relationship:Evidence from Developing Countries.

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Abstract

In general, countries with more equal income distribution generally enjoy better health. Earlier empirical studies on the relationship between income distribution and health at country level present strong evidence that income inequality on an average impedes the improvement of population health. However, a majority of these empirical studies are based on data from either only developed countries or pooled data from developing and developed countries. They mainly study the relationship at a single point of time or at an average of several years. These studies also fail to control for country specific unobserved heterogeneity. Departing from the general trend of current literature, this paper examines the health-income inequality hypothesis using panel data from 31 low income and low middle income countries for the period of 1982-2002. The results from the simple pooled OLS analysis indicate that health and income inequality is negatively related in these countries. This finding is in line with the most of the earlier cross country studies. However, application of fixed effects and random effects model to control country specific heterogeneity provides contradictory results. In other words, my findings from this study confirm that there is a positive relation between health and income distribution in this set of developing countries over this period.

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