Ethnic inequality and public health

Sundar Ponnusamy, Mohammad Abbas Hakeem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


We examine the association between ethnic inequality and various key health outcomes for a global set of developed and developing countries. Our results show that higher ethnic inequality is associated with a poor state of public health, such as higher child and maternal mortality, increased stillbirths and child stunting, and reduced life expectancy at birth. This set of effects is found to be predominant mainly in developing countries, and Sub-Saharan African countries. Results remain robust to the inclusion of various other measures of inequality, ethnic composition indices, geographic endowments, and other relevant controls. We argue that lower contraceptive usage and poor vaccination rates are potential mechanisms through which ethnic inequality affects health outcomes. Policies targeted at improving public health may need to focus more on these key intermediate channels in ethnic minority regions.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalHealth Economics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • child mortality
  • health
  • inequality

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