Understanding Health Disparities from an Economic Perspective

Award Year:
James Foster
Health Disparities, Social Determinants of Health
Recent discoveries linking income inequality and various health outcome measures have sparked debate among health analysts about this issue, its magnitude, causes, and linkages. Many economists remain skeptical about the importance or validity of this hypothesis. Using perspectives of economic theory, this study increases our understanding of the nature and causes of health inequalities. It provides a conceptual foundation for discussing health disparities; explores the validity of a conceptual framework for the relative income hypothesis; and uses both a relative education hypothesis and a proximate literacy hypothesis to analyze the interplay of other economic variables and health outcomes. The project contributes a new resource on the methods and evidence pertaining to health disparities; provides information about differences in education levels contributing to ill health; and considers how group characteristics affect individual outcomes.