Socioeconomic inequalities in health: measurement, explanation and policy evaluation
The background of this proposal is the persistence of socioeconomic health inequalities in most European countries, despite decades of egalitarian policies and considerable improvements in life expectancy and average health status. The understanding of what drives the health inequalities is still incomplete and improved knowledge of this is vital for policy makers to design effective policies. The main purpose of this proposal is to identify and quantify the major causal mechanisms that drive the changes in socioeconomic health inequalities in Sweden. Our specific aims are as follows: 1) To develop and apply new measures of health mobilities and income mobilities, in order to track changes in health inequalities due to both morbidity and mortality; 2) To model the causal relationships between health, income, employment, lifestyle and diseases. This allow us to quantify the effects of socioeconomic factors that explain changes in health inequalities; 3) To utilize and develop new decomposition techniques for mobility indices akin to those available in the literature for inequality indices; 4) To examine how changes in the distribution of risk factors and major diseases have affected the socioeconomic inequalities in life expectancy; 5) To use the dynamic models developed in 2 and the results from literature surveys on the effects of health interventions and policies, relating to, for example smoking cessation and obesity prevention in different socioeconomic groups to simulate the effects of policies on health inequalities; The research in the proposal will provide a scientific basis for decision makers to better analyze and evaluate the extent to which interventions and policies widen or reduce income-related inequalities in health.