What difference does the choice of SES make in health inequality measurement?

Health Econ. 2003 Oct;12(10):885-90. doi: 10.1002/hec.805.


This note explores the implications for measuring socioeconomic inequality in health of choosing one measure of SES rather than another. Three points emerge. First, whilst similar rankings in the two the SES measures will result in similar inequalities, this is a sufficient condition not a necessary one. What matters is whether rank differences are correlated with health - if they are not, the measured degree of inequality will be the same. Second, the statistical importance of choosing one SES measure rather than another can be assessed simply by estimating an artificial regression. Third, in the 19 countries examined here, it seems for the most part to make little difference to the measured degree of socioeconomic inequalities in malnutrition among under-five children whether one measures SES by consumption or by an asset-based wealth index.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Child
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / economics
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developing Countries / economics*
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Characteristics
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Models, Econometric*
  • Poverty / classification
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Class*