Economic inequality and population health: Looking beyond aggregate indicators

Petri Böckerman, Edvard Johansson, Satu Helakorpi, Antti Uutela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies the sensitivity of various health indicators to income inequality as measured by regional Gini coefficients, using individual microdata from Finland over the period 1993-2005. There is no overall association between income and health at the regional level. We discovered that, among men, there are no significant associations between income inequality and several measures of health status. Among women or among both sexes combined, there are some indications of associations in the predicted direction between income inequality and physical health, disability retirement, sick leave, and consumption of medicines, but none are robust to different model specifications. Only among the population aged less than 30 there is some indication that mental health is associated with inequality. Our findings confirm that income inequality in small populations (not large enough to measure the overall class pyramid of the society) is often immaterial for health outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalSociology of Health & Illness
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)422-440
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 04.2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 511 Economics
  • Economic inequality
  • Income inequality
  • Gini coefficient
  • Health
  • Health behaviour


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