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International Journal for Equity in Health

, 15:135

Economic crisis in Europe and Equity in Health


BackgroundThe recent economic crisis has been a major shock not only to the economic sector, but also to the rest of society. Our main objective in this paper is to show the impact of the economic crisis on convergence, i.e. the reduction or equalising of disparities, among the EU-27 countries in terms of health. The aim is to observe whether the economic crisis from 2008 onwards has in fact had an effect on health inequalities within the EU.

MethodsWe estimate convergence by specifying a dynamic panel model with random-effects time, regions and countries. We are particularly interested in σ-convergence. As dependent variables, we use life expectancy, total mortality and cause-specific mortality in the regions of the EU-27 countries over the period 1995–2011.

ResultsThe results of the analysis show that, in terms of health, there has been a catching-up process among the EU regions. However, we find no reduction, on average, in dispersion levels as the σ-convergence shows. The main finding of this paper has been the sharp increase in disparities in 2010 for all health outcomes albeit less abrupt for cancer mortality.

ConclusionThis increase in disparities in 2010 coincides with the austerity measures implemented in the EU countries. Our main conclusion is that these austerity measures have had an impact on socioeconomic inequalities.

KeywordsEconomic crisis Health inequalities Dynamic panel model Random-effects σ-convergence AbbreviationsBPGexternal balance

CPOconditional predictive ordinates

DICdeviance information criteria

EMPHThigh-tech employment

EUEuropean Union

GDPgross domestic product

GFgaussian field

GMRFGaussian Markov Random Field

INLAintegrated nested laplace approximation

PUBEXPpublic expenditure rate

RANDDRandD - Research and Development

SPDEstochastic partial differential equations

UFYyouth female unemployment rate

UKUnited Kingdom

UMYyouth male unemployment rate

UNIVpercentage of university students

An erratum to this article is available at

JELI14 I15 C33 C11  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Laia Maynou - Marc Saez


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