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Education policies and health inequalities: Evidence from changes in the distribution of Body Mass Index in France, 1981-2003

Abstract : This paper contributes to the debate over the effectiveness of education policies in reducing overall health inequalities as compared to public health actions directed at the less-educated. Recentered Influence Function (RIF) regressions are used to decompose the contribution of education to the changing distribution of Body Mass Index (BMI) in France, between 1981 and 2003, into a composition effect (the shift in population education due to a massive educational expansion), and a structure effect (a changing educational gradient in BMI). Educational expansion has reduced overall BMI inequality by 3.4% for women and 2.3% for men. However, the structure effect on its own has produced a 10.9% increase in overall inequality for women, due to a steeper education gradient starting from the second quartile of the distribution. This structure effect on overall inequality is also large (7.6%) for men, albeit insignificant as it remains concentrated in the last decile. Educational expansion policies can thus reduce overall BMI inequalities; but attention must still be paid to the BMI gradient in education even for policies addressing overall rather than socioeconomic health inequalities.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00978423
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Submitted on : Monday, April 14, 2014 - 10:55:02 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 29, 2022 - 10:13:02 AM

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Fabrice Etilé. Education policies and health inequalities: Evidence from changes in the distribution of Body Mass Index in France, 1981-2003. Economics & Human Biology, 2014, 13, pp.46-65. ⟨10.1016/j.ehb.2013.01.002⟩. ⟨halshs-00978423⟩

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