The Centre for Health Economics presents: Economics of Health Inequalities Workshop

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Event Details

16 October 2017 at 3:30 am – 16 October 2017 at 3:30 pm
Plenary Room, Monash University, Level 7, 271 Collins St Melbourne CBD
City Campus
Open to:
Students, Staff, Alumni and Stakeholders
Early bird (before 19/9) $350; Full $500; Student early bird (before 19/9) $150; Student $200
Alumni; Business and Economics; Conferences & Exhibitions; Seminars & Workshops; General


Economics of Health Inequalities Workshop

Poor individuals are likely to be sicker and to die younger than rich individuals. To successfully combat such inequalities, we need to appropriately measure, compare and evaluate population health, the determinants of health and healthcare use across socioeconomic groups. The aim of the workshop is to showcase the latest evidence and methods to measure health inequalities and to model the impact of policies on inequalities. The workshop will consist of a series of lectures and discussions from international and Australian experts and will leave room for participants to interact and discuss important health inequality issues with the speakers. It provides a forum for the exchange of expertise between researchers, policy makers, students and other stakeholders. Participants will be asked to provide details of questions or topics of particular interest which may be discussed in the final session. 

For the full workshop program click here


Dr Sonja Kassenboehmer (Monash University Australia)


Prof Ulf Gerdtham (Lund University, Sweden)

Prof Andrew Jones (University of York, UK)

A/Prof Dennis Petrie (Monash University, Australia)


Measurement of health inequalities and decomposition analysis

Prof Ulf Gerdtham, Lund University

Inequalities of health has a long tradition in epidemiological and public health research and has been a major area in health economics over several decades. Both methodological and empirical studies have been published in high ranked economic journals and which have contributed substantially to our understanding of the health inequalities and also to the measures and analytical techniques as have been used in the inequality research. This lecture will discuss the economic methods used to measure the health inequality and explain the different health inequality measures. Focus will be on rank-dependent measures, i.e. the absolute and relative concentration index, which has attracted most of the interest in health economics. The properties and problems of the indexes will be discussed, including properties of health measures, and implications on measured inequality. The lecture will also discuss the standard Wagstaff’s decomposition method of health inequality on the determinants of health which have been applied in numerous studies over many years, and also a new decomposition method based on OLS regressions on Recentered Inflation Functions (RIFs) of various concentration index measures. The methodological problems of identification of the effects of socioeconomic factors on health and socioeconomic-related health inequality will also be considered. These decomposition methods will be illustrated by individual level data on health, income and education from the Swedish Twin Registry.

Equality of opportunity in health

Prof Andrew Jones, University of York

Equality of opportunity (EoP) is based on an ethic of ‘responsibility-sensitive egalitarianism’. It distinguishes between circumstances, such as which kind of school someone attended, for which people are not held personally responsible, and their personal effort, which may in-part be shaped by those circumstances, for example through the attitudes and behaviours picked up at that school. Normative models for EoP in health draw out the implications of this ethical stance, by disentangling the direct and indirect (through effort) contributions of circumstances and the direct contribution of effort to the distribution of health outcomes. EoP methods will be illustrated with empirical applications that explore the role of different types of schooling as a source of inequality of opportunity in health. Members of the UK National Child Development Study (NCDS) 1958 birth cohort attended different types of secondary school, as their schooling lay within the transition period of the comprehensive education reform in England and Wales. This provides a setting to explore the impact of educational attainment and of school quality on health and health-related behaviour later in life.

Longitudinal analysis and evaluation

A/Prof Dennis Petrie, Monash University

Monitoring changes in health inequalities over time and modelling the impact of potential policies are crucial tasks for successfully combating persistent differences in health across socioeconomic groups. Often governments and researchers simply report changes or trends in the level of socioeconomic health inequality present at each point in time but this hides the complex mechanisms that lead to changes in the level of health inequality. This session focuses on understanding the reasons why the level of cross-sectional health inequality may change over time. In addition, we will consider how to evaluate the likely impact of health policies on socioeconomic health inequalities and highlight why we should not only be concerned with the mean impact on health of policies but also whom in society will benefit from particular policies.


Dr Sonja Kassenboehmer, Monash University

The final session of this workshop will allow participants to interact with the speakers, ask questions and discuss important health inequality policies. For example, we will ask the national and international experts along with the workshop participants what their view is on co-payments and the potential health equity impacts of these. What are the main areas where policy action is required and what are the barriers? How should we routinely monitor health inequalities and what are reasonable policy goals for addressing health inequalities? What can we learn from other countries? This session will allow participants to pick the brains of the experts and engage in meaningful discussions with the experts and other participants from a wide range of backgrounds. The discussion will be focused on issues of importance to workshop participants.

Clare Austin
9905 0733,
The Centre for Health Economics