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Deprivation, Relative

R. G. Wilkinson and K. E. Pickett’s (WP) theory posits relative deprivation as a core mechanism for why income inequality impacts health in societies. A number of recent studies, including in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, have thus contrasted the health impact of relative and absolute deprivation. However, it is a false contrast. This is because supposed absolute deprivation has its roots in a theory of relative deprivation. Further it is not only WP’s theory that has relative deprivation as its core mechanism. Materialist/structural theory, as outlined in the very well-known Black Report on health inequalities, does as well. Absolute deprivation is often defined as one’s material standard of living up to some set level, for example, a subsistence level and as one’s ...

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