Health convergence between the European Union countries and Spanish provinces is studied considering the spatial interactions among several territories. Health status measured through life expectancy in four ways: life expectancy at birth, life expectancy at age 65, disability-adjusted life expectancy and healthy life expectancy based on self-perceived health. The period analyzed differs from one indicator to another, for the period 1998-2018.
Two kinds of convergence are studied: σ-convergence, through standard deviation, and absolute β-convergence, estimating a determined regression. Furthermore, the Moran Test is performed in order to know the degree of spatial dependencies and two models of spatial regression (Spatial Lag Model and Spatial Error Model) are used to include these dependencies in the absolute β-convergence estimation.
Our findings suggest that there is a convergence process, both in σ and β, between the European Union countries and between the Spanish provinces. Therefore, dispersion is reduced, and growth rates have been higher where had lower life expectancy values at the beginning. On the other hand, β-convergence is higher in women among European countries and in men among Spanish provinces, whether we consider the model without spatial dependencies or the one which include them.
In general, there have been convergence processes (both in sigma and beta) inside Europe and Spain. Otherwise, the rise of the dispersion means that there is not a clear evidence about the trend in the following period. This study has a double contribution. First, it provides an updated vision of the health convergence. Secondly, it contributes to consider spatial econometrics in Health Economics research. These insights can be considered to reduce health population inequalities.