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Bread and Social Justice: Measurement of Social Welfare and Inequality Using Anthropometrics

Abu‐Zaineh, Mohammad, and Ramses H. Abul Naga

Review of Income and Wealth (2021).

Résumé

We address the question of the measurement of health achievement and inequality in the context of variables exhibiting an inverted-U relation with health and well-being. The chosen approach is to measure separately achievement and inequality in the health increasing range of the variable, from a lower survival bound a to an optimum value m, and in the health decreasing range from m to an upper survival bound b. Because in the health decreasing range, the equally distributed equivalent value associated with a distribution is decreasing in progressive transfers, the paper introduces appropriate relative and absolute achievement and inequality indices to be used for variables exhibiting a negative association with well-being. We then discuss questions pertaining to consistent measurement across health attainments and shortfalls, as well as the ordering of distributions exhibiting an inverted-U relation with well-being. An illustration of the methodology is provided using a group of five Arab countries.

Mots clés

Anthropometrics, health achievement and inequality, survival thresholds, Arab countries