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Owen O’Donnell (Erasmus School of Economics)

21 November 2023 @ 12:00 - 13:15


  • Past event


21 November 2023
12:00 - 13:15
Event Category:
Academic Events

Preferences for equality and equity in health

Abstract. An equitable distribution of health need not be equal. This is the first study to identify aversion to health inequality separately from preferences for health equity in relation to non-health characteristics that people are held responsible for to varying degrees. With a broadly representative UK sample (n=586), we conduct an online experiment in which participants allocate resources to determine health of recipients that are anonymous in one treatment and identified by sex, income or smoking status in another. With these data (42,900 obs.), we estimate a random behavioural model that reveals substantial aversion to health inequality, a large equity weight favouring non-smokers, moderately larger weights to poorer individuals, and a small weight favouring females. We show that differences in the equity weights are driven by beliefs about responsibility for the non-health characteristics. On average, social preferences prioritise the health of the least healthy, non-smokers, the poor, and, slightly, females.