Persistence of Non-Communicable Diseases, Affluence and Inequality in India

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Paper Abstract: 
This study builds on the extant literature by highlighting the persistence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), their cross-associations, and how these diseases are linked to different forms of inequality-socio-economic, gaps in affluence measured by asset quartile, and in the overall economic environment, based on a nation-wide panel survey, India Human Development Survey 2015. A multinomial probit specification is used to analyse NCD outcomes. Those at the bottom of the caste hierarchy and least wealthy exhibit lowest vulnerability to NCDs despite their deprivation and limited access to healthcare facilities while those at the higher end of the caste hierarchy and the wealthiest are most vulnerable. However, overall economic inequality, using Piketty’s (2013) measure, is insidious as it corrodes social cohesion and support, and the capability to live a healthy and productive life. New light is thrown on whether social networks are associated with better NCD outcomes. So policy interventions have to be not just medical but much broader in scope.