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J Health Econ. 2009 Mar;28(2):516-20, author reply 521-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2008.12.003. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

Correcting the concentration index: a comment.

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1
The World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA. awagstaff@worldbank.org

Abstract

In a recent article in this journal, Erreygers [Erreygers, G., 2008. Correcting the concentration index. Journal of Health Economics] has proposed a new measure of income-related health inequality to overcome three shortcomings of the concentration index (CI). I think Erreygers is absolutely right to probe on these issues, and I welcome his generalization of my normalization which was specific to the case of a binary health indicator. However, I have misgivings about his paper. His goal of correcting the CI so as to make it usable with interval-scale variables seems misguided. The CI reflects a commitment on the part of the analyst to measuring relative inequality. Armed only with an interval-scale variable, one simply has to accept that one can meaningfully measure only differences and therefore settle for measuring absolute inequality. Erreygers, index inevitably ends up as a measure of absolute inequality. His objection to my approach to getting round the bounds problem is that my normalization of the CI does not produce a measure of absolute inequality. But that was never my intention! In this comment I also show that - somewhat paradoxically at first glance - my index is also not a pure index of relative inequality. This seems to be an inevitable consequence of tackling the bounds issue.

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PMID:
19167117
DOI:
10.1016/j.jhealeco.2008.12.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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