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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064

Abstract

JAVIER IDROVO, Álvaro. Income inequality, corruption, and life expectancy at birth in Mexico. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2005, vol.7, n.2, pp. 121-129. ISSN 0124-0064.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0124-00642005000200001.

OBJECTIVE: To ascertain if the effect of income inequality on life expectancy at birth in Mexico is mediated by corruption, used as a proxy of social capital. MATERIAL AND METHODS: An ecological study was carried out with the 32 Mexican federative entities. Global and by sex correlations between life expectancy at birth were estimated by federative entity with the Gini coefficient, the Corruption and Good Government Index, the percentage of Catholics, and the percentage of the population speaking indigenous language. Robust linear regressions, with and without instrumental variables, were used to explore if corruption acts as intermediate variable in the studied relationship. RESULTS: Negative correlations with Spearman's rho near to -0.60 (p < 0.05) and greater than -0.66 (p < 0.05) between life expectancy at birth, the Gini coefficient and the population speaking indigenous language, respectively, were observed. Moreover, the Corruption and Good Government Index correlated with men's life expectancy at birth with Spearman's rho -0.3592 (p < 0.05). Regressions with instruments were more consistent than conventional ones and they show a strong negative effect (p < 0.05) of income inequality on life expectancy at birth. This effect was greater among men. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest a negative effect of income inequality on life expectancy at birth in Mexico, mediated by corruption levels and other related cultural factors.

Keywords : Social class; poverty; residence characteristics; Mexico.

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