Do people in equal societies live longer? The relative income hypothesis in light of panel data

Balgova, Maria

This paper reexamines the hypothesis of a negative causal relationship between income
inequality and life expectancy. The relative income hypothesis has attracted the attention of
policymakers and may become a powerful argument in favor of government redistribution
of wealth. To test this claim, this paper draws on panel data from thirty-six countries over
eighteen years and employs a specific variable transformation to enable direct testing of the
relative income hypothesis from aggregate data. The conclusion of this analysis is that a negative
impact of income inequality on life expectancy cannot be empirically substantiated.


Also Published In

The Journal of Politics and Society

More About This Work

Academic Units
Helvidius Group
Helvidius Group of Columbia University
Published Here
November 1, 2014