Diverging Mortality Inequality Trends among Young and Old in the Netherlands

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We analyse the trends in inequality in mortality across poverty groups at different ages over the period 1996–2016 in the Netherlands. In addition, we examine whether these trends are related to unequal changes in avoidable mortality, separated by preventable and treatable causes of death. We find that while inequalities in mortality have decreased at ages up to 65, inequalities increased for the oldest age groups. The decline in inequality at the younger ages can, to a large extent, be explained by a strong decrease of mortality from preventable and cardiovascular causes among the poor. The link between inequality and avoidable mortality at the oldest ages is less straightforward. The increasing inequality at old age might be the result of the inequalities shifting from the young to the older age groups, or of the rich benefiting more from the recent health (care) improvements than the poor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-101
Number of pages23
JournalFiscal Studies (London)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

JEL classification numbers: D63, I14, J10.
Funding Information:
We acknowledge support from the Initiative for Smarter Choices for Better Health funded by Erasmus University and the project ‘Optimizing long‐term care provision’ funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). C. Riumallo Herl received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska Curie grant agreement No 707404. The results are based on our own calculations using non‐public microdata from Statistics Netherlands. Under certain conditions, these microdata are accessible for statistical and scientific research. For further information, contact microdata@cbs.nl . We are grateful to Janet Currie, Sonya Krutikova, James Banks, Monica Costa Dias and the other participants of the IFS meetings on inequality in mortality for their valuable comments. We also thank Viola Angelini and the other participants of the 2021 Netspar Pension Day, and the participants at the SCBH Health Equity meeting for their comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Fiscal Studies published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. on behalf of Institute for Fiscal Studies


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