This paper examines the association between income, income inequalities and health inequalities in Europe. The contribution of this paper is to study different hypotheses linking self-perceived health status and income, allowing for the identification of different mechanisms in income-related health inequalities. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (15 countries), we take the advantage of the cross-sectional and longitudinal nature of this rich database to make robust results. The analyses (coefficient estimates as well as average marginal effects) strongly support two hypotheses by showing that (i) income has a positive and concave effect on health (Absolute Income Hypothesis); (ii) income inequalities in a country affect all members in a society (strong version of the Income Inequality Hypothesis). However, our study suggests that, when considering the position of the individual in the income distribution, as well as the interaction between income inequalities and these rankings, one cannot identify individuals the most affected by income inequalities (which should be the least well-off in a society according to the weak version of the Income Inequality Hypothesis). Finally, the robustness of this study is emphasized when implementing a generalized ordered probit to consider the subjective nature of the self-perceived health status to avoid the traps encountered in previous studies.
Health inequalities Income inequalities Self-reported health Europe