Health, Income…And Justice for all!

Does good health cause high income? Or does high income lead to good health? And should society be concerned about this relationship? In his inaugural lecture “Health, Income…And Justice for All!”, dr. Tom Van Ourti will focus on the distributional concerns about the income-health gradient. On Friday June 3, 2016 he will publicly accept his appointment as endowed professor of applied health economics, with focus on health and inequality, at Erasmus School of Economics, on behalf of the Vereniging Trustfonds.

Health is systematically related to income. Policy makers monitor these health inequalities over time, but the mere action of monitoring calls for normative judgments. In the Netherlands for example, policy makers assume that health inequalities increase when the richest and poorest part of society experience the same relative health improvement. Belgian policy makers would conclude that health inequalities do not change. It is also assumed that such value judgments should apply universally.

Van Ourti challenges this viewpoint and argues that our moral concerns are shaped by the underlying causes and consequences leading to the health-income gradient. Should society be worried when health inequalities are the result of the deliberate choice of those with lower incomes to smoke? Or are we rather concerned when genes lead to illness and income loss. Recent developments in the economics literature allow enriching the measurement of health inequalities with insights on the underlying causes of the income gradient in health.

About Tom Van Ourti

Tom Van Ourti  lectures methods of economic research and coordinates the master Health Economics of Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research mainly focuses on distributional concerns in health economics. He studies the link between health and socioeconomic status using social choice theory and micro econometric methods. His research has been financed by FWO, NWO, NETSPAR, NIA and AXA Research Fund. Van Ourti has published in leading journals in economics (including Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Health Economics) and in epidemiology and public health (including Bulletin of the World Health Organization).

Tom Van Ourti holds a Ph.D. in applied economics (2004) from the University of Antwerp. He became postdoctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp and lecturer at the institute of Health Policy and Management of Erasmus University Rotterdam thereafter. He has been affiliated with Erasmus School of Economics since 2006, first as an assistant professor, and since 2010 as an associate professor in health economics. He was a visiting researcher at the University of Melbourne in 2007-2008.

More information

Ronald de Groot, Communications Officer at Erasmus School of Economics:, mobile phone: +31 6 53641 846

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