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Understanding preference for egalitarian policies in health: are age and sex determinants?

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This article presents an empirical assessment of the relevance of different factors when understanding preferences for outcome-egalitarian policies in health, in particular respondent age and sex. A representative sample of the Spanish population was interviewed (n = 1209). After being informed that those from the higher social class have longer life expectancy at birth than those from the lower social class, respondents were required to choose between two programmes: to increase life expectancy of the two groups by the same amount (the 'distribution neutral' programme); and to target the lowest social class group, thereby reducing current health inequalities (the 'targeting' or 'egalitarian' programme). Two variants, one with and the other without visual aid, are used. Majority (69%) of respondents support targeting. An effect of age was observed, where younger and older individuals are less likely to target the egalitarian policy than those in middle age. However, individual's sex was not associated with targeting behaviour. In addition, right-wingers or/and individuals living in a high per capita income region are less likely to target. On the other hand, neither individual's education nor household income has a significant impact on targeting. Finally, regarding the two variants, results suggest that the visual aid is associated with less targeting.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Facultad de Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales, Departamento de Economia de las Instituciones, Estadistica Economica y Econometria, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain 2: Department of Economics and School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S1 4DA, United Kingdom

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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