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The relationship between income inequality, welfare regimes and aggregate health

Kim, Ki-tae (2016)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The Scandinavian welfare regime is expected to have better aggregate health than other welfare regimes due mainly to its narrow income inequality. This theoretical expectation is in part related to the Wilkinson Hypothesis that, in industrialised nations, a society’s narrow income inequality enhances its aggregate health. This thesis tests both of the above propositions. This is achieved by means of four methods not previously applied to this field, namely a ‘review of reviews’, a decomposition systematic review, a new case selection method, and a use of the OECD regional dataset for the cross-national comparative health study.
These new methodological approaches lead to four main findings. First, the Scandinavian welfare regime shows worse-than-expected aggregate health outcomes. This thesis terms this counterintuitive finding as ‘the second Scandinavian puzzle’. Second, the East Asian welfare regime shows unexpectedly good aggregate health, which is proposed as ‘the East Asian puzzle’. Third, regarding the Wilkinson Hypothesis, it is income, rather than income inequality, which is a statistically significant determinant of aggregate health. Fourth, the effects on health of income inequality or welfare regimes reverse over a certain threshold of age, which is termed here ‘the age threshold effect’.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Powell, Martin and Williams, Iestyn
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Social Policy, Health Service Management Centre
Subjects:H Social Sciences (General)
HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:7031
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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