How Does Income Inequality Relate to Subjective vs. Objective Measures of Health in Costa Rica

Sepideh Modrek, University of California, Berkeley
William H. Dow, University of California, Berkeley

The association between inequality and health has been studied extensively in cross-country regressions and in micro data in high income countries, often with conflicting results. However, very little work has been done on understanding this association in low and middle income countries using micro data. We assess this relationship in the context of a middle-income country, Costa Rica. Using an array of biomarkers, we create an allostatic load index as our measure of objective health and use self reported health as a measure of subjective health. While we find a robust relationship between district level inequality and self reported health, we find only fragile relationship between inequality and objective health. Taken together these result suggest that we need to consider the multidimensional character of adult health in assessing the association of income inequality and health.

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Presented in Poster Session 6