Health opportunities in Colombia

Andrés Felipe Rivera Triviño

Abstract


Health opportunities in Colombia

Abstract: According to the theory of equality of opportunity, inequality in final outcomes (e.g., monetary income) is mainly caused by two broad characteristics: circumstances and individual effort. Individuals have no control on the former but on the latter. Inequalities in final outcomes caused by circumstances are considered unfair, while those generated by effort are not. In this paper, we calculate the level of unjust inequality in health in Colombia. A preliminary conclusion is that Colombia presents evidence of inequality of opportunities in health, which explains between 30% and 40% of total inequality in self-reported health status. Considering only observable circumstances, mother’s health, household structure through childhood, and gender are individual characteristics that have considerable influence on this type of inequality.

Keywords: health, equality of opportunity, circumstances, individual effort, Colombia.

JEL Classification: D39, D63, I12, I14.

 

Oportunidades de salud en Colombia

Resumen: De acuerdo con la teoría de igualdad de oportunidades, la desigualdad en un resultado final (por ejemplo, los ingresos monetarios) es causada, principalmente, por dos tipos de características: las circunstancias y el esfuerzo individual. Los individuos no tienen control sobre las primeras, pero sí sobre el esfuerzo. Las desigualdades en los resultados finales que son generadas por las circunstancias se consideran injustas, mientras que las generadas por las segundas, no. En este artículo se busca calcular el nivel de desigualdad injusta en salud existente en Colombia. Se concluye, preliminarmente, que en Colombia hay evidencia de desigualdad de oportunidades en salud, la cual explica entre el 30% y el 40% de la desigualdad total en el estado de salud autorreportado por los individuos. Considerando solamente las circunstancias observables, se concluye que la salud de la madre, la estructura del hogar durante la niñez y el género son características individuales que tienen una influencia considerable sobre este tipo de desigualdad.

Palabras clave: salud, igualdad de oportunidades, circunstancias, esfuerzo individual, Colombia.

Clasificación JEL: D39, D63, I12, I14.

 

Une application de la théorie des opportunités au secteur de la santé en Colombie

Résumé: D’après la théorie de l’égalité des opportunités, l’inégalité dans un résultat final (par exemple avoir un revenu monétaire) est provoqué par deux éléments : « les circonstances » et par « l’effort individuel ». Les individus ne peuvent pas contrôler « les circonstances » mais ils peuvent le faire lorsqu’il s’agit de « l’effort individuel ». Les inégalités sur les résultats finaux qui sont provoqués par « les circonstances » sont considérées comme injustes, alors que ce n’est pas le cas lorsque les inégalités sont provoquées par « l’effort individuel ». Cet article calcule le niveau d’inégalité injuste dans le secteur de la santé en Colombie. Nous concluons, à titre provisoire, qu’en Colombie existe une inégalité des opportunités en matière de santé qui expliquera entre 30% et 40% de l’inégalité totale dans l’état de santé autodéclaré des individus. En ne considérant que « les circonstances » directement observables, nous concluons que la santé de la mère, la structure des ménages au cours de l’enfance et le sexe, sont des caractéristiques individuelles qui ont une influence considérable sur ce type d’inégalité.

Mots-clés: santé, égalité des chances, égalité des opportunités, circonstances, effort individuel, Colombie.

Classification JEL: D39, D63, I12, I14.


Keywords


health; equality of opportunity; circumstances; individual effort; Colombia

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17533/udea.le.n87a05

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