Health Inequality, Education and Medical Innovation
Recent studies suggest that health inequalities across socio-economic groups in the US are large and have been growing. We hypothesize that, as in other, non-health contexts, this pattern occurs because more educated people are better able than to take advantage of technological advances in medicine than are the less educated. We test this hypothesis by relating education gradients in mortality with measures medical innovation. We focus on overall mortality and cancer mortality, examining both the incidence of cancer and survival conditional on disease incidence. We find evidence supporting the hypothesis that education gradients are steeper for diseases with more innovation.