During the last decades, China has experienced double-digit economic growth rates and rising inequality. This paper implements a new decomposition on the China Health and Nutrition panel Survey (1991-2006) to examine the extent to which changes in level and distribution of incomes and in income mobility are related to health disparities between rich and poor. We find that health disparities in China relate to rising income inequality and in particular to the adverse health and income experience of older (wo)men, but not to the growth rate of average incomes over the last decades. These findings suggest that replacement incomes and pensions at older ages may be one of the most important policy levers in combating health disparities between rich and poor Chinese.

China, health inequality, income growth, income inequality, income mobility
Mathematical and Quantitative Methods: General (jel C00), Distribution: General (jel D30), Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement (jel D63), Health and Inequality (jel I14), Health and Economic Development (jel I15)
Tinbergen Institute
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper Series
Discussion paper / Tinbergen Institute
This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/223166 - Health Equity and Financial Protection in Asia (HEFPA)
Erasmus School of Economics

Baeten, S.A, van Ourti, T.G.M, & van Doorslaer, E.K.A. (2012). Rising Inequalities in Income and Health in China: Who is left behind? (No. TI 12-091/V). Discussion paper / Tinbergen Institute (pp. 1–35). Tinbergen Institute. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/37312