Inequality, Globalization and Health

Sammanfattning: This thesis contains four independent studies that analyze various aspects of the nexus of inequality, globalization, and health with the aim to build our knowledge so some of the empirical relationships connecting these three concepts. Using data on four welfare attributes in Zambian households, Chapter 2 explores three approaches to evaluate multidimensional inequality. The examination indicates that level and changes in non-monetary inequality are at odds with monetary inequality. Moreover, dimensions of wellbeing seem to compensate and reinforce each other, although results are sensitive and less imposed structure sometimes comes at the cost of non-conclusion on inequality change. The results suggest that explicitness and analyses involving several techniques are constructive in portraying multidimensional inequality. The relationship between income inequality and health has been heavily studied in the empirical literature, but little research addresses the issue in developing contexts. While theory predicts that income inequality, independent from individual income, will affect health negatively, Chapter 3 instead indicates that higher income inequality is associated with better health in Zambia. The results suggest that the relationship between inequality and health in developing contexts might be very different from the predominant view in the theoretical literature. Chapter 4 assesses the effect of dimensions of globalization on income inequality in 81 countries 1970-2005 and finds that trade on average increase inequality. Distinguishing between levels of development this impact appears at higher income levels, in line with theoretical predictions. Generally also social globalization increase income inequality. However, most dimensions of globalization have no affect on inequality, suggesting closer integration may increase welfare without inducing distributional consequences, and supporting the choice of examining globalization as a multifaceted process. Chapter 5 examines the association between dimensions of globalization and life expectancy. The analysis using a panel containing 92 countries 1970-2005 suggest that more economic globalization is associated with rising longevity, even when controlling for factors repeatedly found to be important to life expectancy in earlier research. This suggests that some of the effect of globalization occurs through other mechanisms that might be difficult to measure. The positive impact also appears when restricting the sample to low-income countries only.