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Working paper 724

Gordon Anderson and Tongtong Hao, "Measuring "Long and Healthy Lives": Healthier Lives <=> Longer Lives?", 2022-05-18
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Abstract: On the presumption that a healthier life means a longer life, the "Long and Healthy Life" component of the Human Development Index relies solely upon a nations’ estimated life expectancy as its measure of the healthiness and life length of its populace. However, the well-established health-longevity gender paradox, that compared to Males, Females experience inferior health outcomes but superior longevity, suggests that the life expectancy-based index is insufficient for the task and potentially misleading from a health policy perspective. Here new, fit-for-purpose policy focused Health Indices and Inequality measures are introduced and explored in the light of the paradox in 21st century China. China’s longevity and health experiences are consistent with the paradox and, furthermore, they are trending in different directions. The analysis reveals that much is lost by not including a health component along with longevity in the Human Development Index.

Keywords: Health Inequality, Inequality Measurement, Healthy-Longevity Paradox

JEL Classification: D63; I31; I32