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Inequality in health status during the COVID-19 in the UK

Working Paper 2023-661

Abstract

Using the Understanding Society data (UKHLS and COVID-19 surveys), first this work uses the models that preserve the ordinal nature of data to measure in England and Scotland the overall health inequality in the pandemic context, and second it adopts the parametric approach to measure the portion of inequalities due to circumstances.The findings show that within UK regions, overall health inequalities decrease during the pandemic, while the absolute measure of the inequality of health opportunities remains stable in both regions. Between UK regions, the overall health inequality is greater in England than in Scotland during the pandemic (except in November 2020), while inequalities of health opportunities are greater in Scotland than in England in both periods, especially in November 2020.Considering these different results within and between regions, this work also aims at assessing whether the trends in health inequalities could be related with the different national implementation of the second lockdown policy of “Stay-at-home”, also looking at the heterogeneous effect by gender. The findings show that with the second lockdown policy the probability of being in the highest health status categories decreases in England by 10 percentage points, and the impact of the lockdown policy is higher for women than men.

Authors: Enza Simeone.

Keywords: health inequality, inequality of opportunity in health, self-assessed health status, COVID-19, policy evaluation
JEL: C1, D63, I12, I14, I18