Intersectionality and Social Inequalities in Health: A Comparative Study

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Nadine REIBLING, University of Siegen, Germany
The comparative study of social inequalities in health is a growing field and this is partly due to the fact that two central puzzles remain unsolved: 1) Despite considerable welfare and public health efforts health inequalities seem surprisingly stable and even growing in some countries. 2) Welfare states with a high level of decommodification provide safety from common life risks, particularly for the most vulnerable parts of the population, and yet we often do not find health inequalities too be smaller in countries with generous social policies. This paper aims to shed new light on this question by combining the idea of intersectionality of inequalities with new data sources and nonparametric estimation approaches. Intersectionality emphasizes that different forms of inequalities (e.g. education, gender, and ethnicity) are related and exist in a system of interactions. As an analytical strategy it indicates that focusing on only dimension of inequality masks some of the complexity in which social determinants affect health and this may be of particular importance for a comparative perspective. This paper compares social inequalities in health for patterned social groups (created based on multiple intersecting social categories) across advanced, industrialized countries. In order to do this it draws on multiple comparative surveys including the European Social Survey, the International Social Survey Program, and the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement to investigate if detected patterns are consistent or depend upon the selected data source.