Measuring health inequality with realization of conditional potential life years (RCPLY)

Dennis Petrie, Kam Ki Tang, D S Prasada Rao

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Health inequalities that are avoidable and unfair are considered more relevant for policy intervention. Recent work has improved on using life years (LY) to measure longevity inequality by developing a health indicator—the Realization of Potential Life Years (RePLY)—to adjust for unavoidable mortality risks. This approach, however, estimates unavoidable mortality risks by using the globally lowest mortality risks for each age–sex group of any country, and thus, benchmarking countries at different levels of development against the same unavoidable mortality risks without considering their heterogeneity. The current paper proposes to attempt to control for a country’s national resources in estimating their (conditional) avoidable mortality risks. This allows the construction of a new health indicator—Realization of Conditional Potential Life Years (RCPLY). This paper presents and contrasts the empirical results for LY, RePLY and RCPLY based on life tables for 136 countries from the year 2009.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-44
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Mortality risk
  • Avoidable deaths
  • Longevity inequality
  • Data envelopment analysis

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