October 2004

IZA DP No. 1346: The Evolution of Income-Related Health Inequalities in Switzerland over Time

published in: CESifo Economic Studies, 2006, 52 (4), 666-690

This paper presents new evidence on income-related health inequality and its development over time in Switzerland. We employ the methods lined out in van Doorslaer and Jones (2003) and van Doorslaer and Koolman (2004) measuring health using an interval regression approach to compute concentration indices and decomposing inequality into its determining factors. Nationally representative survey data for 1982, 1992, 1997 and 2002 are used to carry out the analysis. Looking at each of the four years separately the results indicates the usual positive relationship between income and health, but the distribution is among the least unequal in Europe. No clear trend emerges in the evolution of the inequality indices over the two decades. Inequality is somewhat lower in 1982 and 1992 as compared to 1997 and 2002 but the differences are not significant. The most important contributors to health inequality are income, education and activity status, in particular retirement. Regional differences including the widely varying health care supply, by contrast, do not exert any systematic influence.