In Wilkinson’s theory of income inequality, there are important health consequences as the existence of income inequality decreases social trust. In our paper we are attempting to examine the hypothesis objectively by combining multiple experiments that are carried out with regard to its feasibility as well as research. Then its practicality is tested by comparing the strengths and limitations of the justification, then deciding whether it is a social determinant of health. In a bid to ascertain the viability of the theory, one study attempted to obtain a comparison by comparing an income based and trade based criterion. A total of about 107 countries got grouped into four typologies namely high/low income, OECD membership, core/none core and non-periphery/periphery (Moore). The various typologies got tested for substantial differences regarding the impact of financial inequality among the different groups about health. There was the incorporation of regression and comparison tests for each of the typology. The primary variables against which the typologies got studied include life expectancy, income inequality, and earnings (Moore). There was the introduction of some terms used to mitigate and ensure moderation of the topic under review. The outcome was that cross-national examination of income inequality and health assumed that the variability best seizes global stratification and the detrimental effects of the differences are solid in high-income nations. Despite that, the study lacks some relevance to current events that emphasize the need for analyzing global stratification concerning various patterns and the effects of income inequality on life expectancy in peripheral nations (Moore).
There was another study aimed at examining income inequality to health consequences conducted by researchers to test the feasibility of the model. There was the proposal of an alternative model, class-based model, that doesn’t only rely on the consequences but incorporates the causes that might lead to the situation (Coburn). There was the argument that income inequality and health issues were a different scenario with a larger underlying link than perceived. A reasoning of the globalization and nationalization of social-economic and political patterns have worked together in raising the authority of the business segment while at the same time lowered the influence of the working class (Coburn).
The neo-liberal policies in place are among the contributing reasons that have seen an increase in income among particular societal segment. It’s the comparison to other parts where there has been a rise in poverty levels and deprivation to access of critical resources such as health among others. However, there is the resistance of the policies by international communities arguing that the difference in class and institutional framework were a norm that existed for a period. Data and information presented relating the impact of the neo-policies on some aspects indicates a rather interesting trend (Coburn). There is an increase in poverty levels and income distributions among nations which are significantly related to health inequalities. What is more, countries with a presence of welfare regimes seem to have much better health access as compared to those without the welfare schemes. The final study indicates the need to integrate more conceptual framework in the class based model which tries to address the inequality issues and linkages to health access (Coburn).
Researchers have also attempted to test the validity of the research by comparing available studies done by different groups. It was to assist in the interpretation of the result to determine whether there was consistency in the findings with regards to the pros and cons of the subject. An identification of 168 analyses from 155 papers got conducted which tried to examine the relationship between income distribution and health issues (Wilkinson and Kate). The analyses got categorized on the extent to which the findings were in line with the hypothesis by trying to validate the point. Analysis, where the adjusted associations between the levels of higher income inequality and low standards of health were significant, was classified in a unique category (Wilkinson and Kate).
On the other hand, if the results were not supportive of the opinion they were categorized in a different category and also where both were significant and supportive another group was in place for them. A majority of the results that got grouped as either supportive or unsupportive were in unison with the thought that health isn’t in right conditions in areas with income disparities. A difference existed in jurisdictions where the population size sampled varied thereby bringing about inconsistencies in the research. There was a suggestion in some studies that the income inequality hypothesis was more sensible in larger areas since income inequality was among the measures used to identify social stratification and the hierarchical composition (Wilkinson and Kate).
After an analysis of the reports and findings in the report, three crucial determinations were reached by the researcher. One was that many of the studies undertook their survey in small areas that wouldn’t satisfactorily clarify the matter as a result of the inconsistencies in the research. The other outcome was that the many of the researches conducted had a control on the factors instead of genuinely confounding. The result was that the matter wasn’t likely to address the study under review but instead would be a reflection of other studies such as the scale of social stratification. The third point to note after consideration of the studies was the losing of international relations over the period where income differences continuously widened in many nations (Wilkinson and Kate).
The other method used in an attempt to test the hypothesis was analyzing trends in different countries among the working class about the mortality rate. Data of the working class in states such as Canada, Britain, America, Sweden, and Australia was captured more so those in metropolitan areas to efficiently come up with a realistic outcome (Ross et al.). A cross-sectional analysis of income inequality to mortality took place using statistical data from a sample of the population in the five nations (Ross et al.). A significant relation was visible after the data was clustered and studied. When hypothetical income got increased among the poor households, there was a result of the decline in the mortality rate.
What was similar was the noteworthy relation in the countries with matters relating to income inequality and mortality rate. Britain and America recorded the highest rates of high mortality levels among the countries which were under study (Ross et al.). It was in contrast to the other three countries where the phenomenon was different when it came to the rates of income disparity and health consequences. A major attributed reason was the national scale policies in place in the egalitarian countries. The policies put into consideration the effects of income disparities in developed countries as a major contributing factor to health access. There was, therefore, need to mitigate the matter and integrate equity in the distribution of resources (Ross et al.).
Regarding the hypothesis, income inequality is an important marker that could be used to determine the range of social and economic impacts affecting a particular population. Areas, where the populace had low income more so in marginalized areas, seem to be significantly affected by health consequences as compared to those in urban areas. The hypothesis is particularly in line with situations related to the poor segment of the population in developed nations. It would assist in developing and putting in place of more liberal policies that called into account the need of equitable income distribution. Most of the studies seem to indicate the accuracy of the development. Therefore, the model can’t just get ignored and considered irrelevant.
The model in its way has certain pros and cons. Among the advantages are that it’s flexible thereby allowing the incorporation of numerous factors and method to determine the outcome efficiently. The other is that the hypothesis can be used as a variable to determine certain aspects affecting a segment of the population such as health. On the other hand, among the disadvantages are biases that get included in the study. It concerns the lack of specific control variables that can be used to determine the expected outcome satisfactorily. The other disadvantage is the inability of the hypothesis to integrate diverse factors in the study thereby challenging its relevance.
About that, the rationale can apply in cities such as Chicago but no to the maximum. It’s because there are diverse factors that need to get integrated with the theory since the analysis becomes more complicated in urban settings where health is affected by numerous issues. In regulating the control variables, the study can then satisfactorily come up with the relevant outcome. In conclusion, the income inequality hypothesis is an ultimate determinant of certain social and economic issues but can’t be solely relied on as the single factor since there are significant variations that need to get consideration.
Coburn, David. “Beyond the income inequality hypothesis: class, neo-liberalism, and health inequalities.” Social science & medicine 58.1 (2004): 41-56.
Moore, Spencer. “Peripherality, income inequality, and life expectancy: revisiting the income inequality hypothesis.” International Journal of Epidemiology 35.3 (2006): 623-632.
Ross, Nancy A., et al. “Metropolitan income inequality and working-age mortality: a cross-sectional analysis using comparable data from five countries.” Journal of Urban Health 82.1 (2005): 101-110.
Wilkinson, Richard G., and Kate E. Pickett. “Income inequality and population health: a review and explanation of the evidence.” Social science & medicine 62.7 (2006): 1768-1784.