Econometrics & Applied Economics Seminar - Andrew Jones (University of York)

Room 605, Level 6, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street, Carlton


Title: Equity, Opportunity and Health

Abstract: The new national panel dataset, Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), provides an opportunity to embed new biosocial data within the ethical framework of equity of opportunity in health and focus on the ways in which early life shape lifetime inequality of opportunity in health. Inequality of opportunity is based on an ethic of ‘responsibility-sensitive egalitarianism’. It distinguishes between circumstances, such as which kind of school someone attended, for which people are not held personally responsible, and their personal effort, which may in-part be shaped by those circumstances, for example through the attitudes and behaviours picked up at school. A normative model draws out the implications of this ethical stance in the data, by disentangling the direct and indirect (through effort) contributions of circumstances and the direct contribution of effort to the distribution of health outcomes. The aim of the research is to explore inequality of opportunity in health by: building a normative model to examine pathways from circumstances to health outcomes; taking into account that health is a multidimensional and complex outcome by considering a set of objective health measures (biomarkers); evaluating the mediating factors, such as cognitive abilities, lifestyles, employment and income, which can affect the pathways between circumstances and health; extending analysis of the contribution of circumstances to health inequalities by (i) going “beyond the mean” to assess whether they matter more for people who are at the bottom or top of the pile in terms of their health and (ii) allowing for heterogeneity in the role of circumstances across people who have different characteristics.