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Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, Lund University and Research Institute of Industrial Economics and Daniel Waldenström, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Sweden and Paris School of Economics, France
There is a clear trend in rich countries that despite rising incomes and living standards, the gap between rich and poor is widening. What does this mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being? Are rich and poor groups affected in the same ways? This book reviews the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. It provides the reader with a pedagogical introduction to the tools and knowledge required to understand and assess the issue. Main conclusions from the literature are then summarized and discussed critically.
Extent: 168 pp
Hardback Price: $99.95 Web: $89.95
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78536 420 4
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $39.95 Web: $31.96
Publication Date: August 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78536 422 8
Availability: Not yet published
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Health Policy and Economics
  • Welfare Economics
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Administration and Management
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Health Policy and Economics
  • Sociology and Sociological Theory
There is a clear trend in rich countries that, despite rising incomes and living standards, the gap between rich and poor is widening. What does this mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being? Are rich and poor groups affected in the same ways? This book reviews the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health, and provides a pedagogical introduction to the tools and knowledge needed to understand and assess the vast literature on the subject.

The book includes discussion of the definitions and measurement of objective and subjective health and income inequality, and illustrates how various measures have been developed in different countries. Main conclusions from the literature are then summarized and discussed critically. It incorporates a substantial research overview of the field, as well as a detailed debate of the empirical challenges that arise during research. The book concludes that results are surprisingly contradictory, but that several studies have found that higher inequality is directly linked to lower subjective well-being.

Students and scholars in public health, social work, economics, and sociology will find this book an essential exposition of conceptual issues and empirical methods applied to the controversial topic of the health consequences of inequality.
‘With this book Bergh, Nilsson and Waldenström bring a nuanced contribution to a research field torn by controversies and heated polemics. In a clear and pedagogical manner the authors sift through the research and weigh the evidence. It should be essential reading for anyone interested in the relationship between income inequalities and health.’
– Stefan Fors, Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, Sweden

‘A terrific analysis of one of the big questions in social science. This engaging book distils the wisdom of hundreds of academic studies, while doing justice to the complexity of the issues.’
– Andrew Leigh, Economist and Australian Parliamentarian
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Measuring Health 3. Measuring Inequality 4. How Can Economic Inequality Influence Health? 5. Correlation Or Causality? Interpreting Scatter Plots And Regressions 6. The Ecological Fallacy: What Conclusions Can Be Drawn From Group Averages? 7. Income Inequality And Health: What Does The Literature Tell Us? 8. Searching For The Inequality Effect: What Tools Are Appropriate? 9. Conclusion Index