News and events

News and events


The Department of Economics holds regular seminars and public lectures for students, staff, alumni and members of the community. We invite special guest speakers as well as our academics to present on their ongoing research. Please bookmark this page to view upcoming interesting topics.

Contact Sri Modali for further information. Reception commences 15 minutes before the seminar.

Event Name MUCHE-Economics Seminar
Start Date 13th Apr 2017 11:00am
End Date 13th Apr 2017 12:00pm
Duration 1 hour
Inequality of Opportunity in Health: A Decomposition-based Approach

Speaker: Professor Andrew Jones, University of York

Date: Thursday 13th April, 2017 

Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm (Morning tea starts at 10:45 am)

Venue: Dunmore Lang College, 130 Herring Rd, Macquarie Park NSW 2113

Presented by Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy (MUCHE) and the Department of Economics

Please register via email to Ms Sri Modali at by Monday 10th April for catering purposes.


This paper presents a new decomposition-based approach to measure inequality in health that captures Roemer’s distinction between circumstances and effort and is consistent with both compensation and reward principles. Our approach builds on a decomposition of the Gini index with heterogeneous responses and is extended to decompose an inequality of opportunity Gini index inspired by the “fairness gap” principle. The decomposition distinguishes the direct contribution of circumstances and their indirect contribution through effort. Our approach is illustrated by an original empirical application which relies on objectively measured biomarkers as health outcomes and as proxies for relevant effort variables. Using data from the Health Survey for England from 2003 to 2012, we find that circumstances are the leading determinant of inequality in cholesterol, glycated haemoglobin, fibrinogen and mean arterial pressure. Moreover, we find a strong interaction between circumstances and the strength of the relationship between effort and the health outcomes that dampens the overall level of inequality for all of the biomarkers. The direct contribution of effort is small relative to circumstances but, among the effort factors, we find that healthy diet and physical activity plays the largest role in contributing to inequality of opportunity in health.

Access the full paper here.

Speaker profile:

Andrew Jones, PhD (York), is Professor of Economics at the University of York, UK, where he was Head of the Department of Economics and Related Studies between January 2011 and September 2015. He was responsible for the running of the MSc in Health Economics at York between 1994 and 2011. During that time there were over 500 graduates from more than 70 different countries. He has also supervised 23 PhD students. He is a joint editor of Health Economics. He edited the Elgar Companion to Health Economics which was published in 2006 with 50 concise chapters that review the state-of-the-art in the field.  A second edition of the Companion was published in 2012. He was elected to the executive board of the International Health Economics Association (iHEA) and was chair of their Arrow Award committee. He was president-elect of the European Health Economics Association (EuHEA) 2014-16 and is president 2016-18.


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