Three essays on health inequalities

Ameed Saabneh, University of Pennsylvania


Health inequalities exist in many societies and mostly reflect inequalities between social and ethnic/racial groups. This dissertation consists of three independent studies of health inequalities. Each study examines a different source of inequality and focuses on a particular health outcome. The first study investigates inequalities in old-age morbidity between Palestinians and Jews in Israel. It examines the role of social inequalities between the two groups in creating gaps in their health statuses. The second study investigates the effect of maternal employment on child survival in India. In particular, it examines reasons for the higher mortality among children of working mothers compared to children of nonworking mothers. The third study focuses on differences in child survival and nutritional status between Copts and Muslims in Egypt and examines the contribution of socioeconomic and regional differences to Copts' higher child mortality during the 1980s and early 1990s. All three studies use propensity score matching. Results from the first study show that morbidity gaps between Palestinians and Jews in Israel are only partially explained by social inequalities. In addition, it shows that the relevance of social inequality within the majority group to understanding minority-majority health gaps. Results from the second study indicate that children of low-status female workers face a higher risk of dying relative to children of nonworking mothers, which most likely results because of extra pressure put on poor working mothers who have to fulfill the role of income earners and care givers in addition to fulfilling time-consuming domestic work. Results from the third study indicate a higher mortality among Copts in spite of their moderate socioeconomic advantage and higher concentration in urban areas. The Copt-Muslim child mortality gap results partly due to higher concentration of Copts in Upper Egypt, a region characterized by high mortality rates relative to the other regions of Egypt.

Subject Area

Middle Eastern Studies|Ethnic studies|Health care management|Demography

Recommended Citation

Saabneh, Ameed, "Three essays on health inequalities" (2013). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3594849.