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Akin, John S.; Dow, William H.; & Lance, Peter M. (2004). Did the Distribution of Health Insurance in China Continue to Grow Less Equitable in the Nineties? Results from a Longitudinal Survey. Social Science & Medicine, 58(2), 293-304.


This paper examines changes in the distribution of health insurance across socioeconomic groups in China over the 1989-1997 period. The analysis is based on the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), a unique micro-level longitudinal survey of households in eight Chinese provinces. Findings indicate that while aggregate insurance coverage rates in the sample changed little over this period, certain previously noted differences in coverage rates across socioeconomic groups narrowed significantly. These findings bring into question the presumption that continued market-oriented reform would lead to increased differences in coverage across those groups. The results, in fact, suggest exactly the opposite, that as the market oriented changes have occurred important disparities in health insurance coverage have been reduced. If these reductions are occurring there are important implications for policy. The groups normally targeted for equity reasons seem to be making progress over time but continued improvements are needed for these groups to reach the levels of coverage enjoyed by more fortunate subgroups.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Social Science & Medicine


Akin, John S.
Dow, William H.
Lance, Peter M.