Empirical Evidence on Wealth Inequalities and Health in Developing Countries
This study aims to assess the extent to which wealth accurately proxies health status in low- and middle-income countries. Specifically it is testing the hypothesis that absolute wealth is much more important for health than wealth inequalities or relative wealth. The researchers have collected 150+ DHS surveys with suitable information on wealth and health outcomes, and have finalized and validated a harmonized wealth index that allows for measuring absolute and relative wealth gradients. They validated the index against education status, which does not enter into the creation of the index, and created harmonized and general measures of health, including malnutrition, stunting, and infant mortality in the household. They are now preparing to analyze the strength and stability of the relationship between wealth (measured as either absolute or relative) and health outcome.