Health and Income: The Case of Iceland
Posted: 17 Jun 2007
Date Written: June 1, 2007
Health-care costs are rising in Iceland, as in the rest of the Western World. Furthermore, the Icelandic government takes financial responsibility for the medical-care demands of its citizens, to the point where non-governmental funding of such consumption has been negligible for several decades. This centralization of the medical system is motivated by equalitarian views and makes the case of Iceland both important and interesting. It is largely unknown whether income-related inequalities in health have been effectively restrained. Is the effect of income largely alleviated, or does it remain a significant influence in the production of good health? The effect of household income in the production of health is considered in the current study, using data that came available as a product of a postal-survey, conducted in 2002, by Gallup-Iceland. With one of the most expensive centralized medical systems in the world, the scale of the matter has reached a point where comparative Icelandic studies are essential. The results show that income influences an Icelander's health under the current political and social structure. Results reveal a statistically significant relationship between health and income in Iceland that is smaller than that reported for other countries. Furthermore, unexpected adverse effects of income on health are revealed at high-income levels.
Keywords: Health, Income, Inequality, Iceland
JEL Classification: D12, D39, I12, I18
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