Behavioural Health Factors and Limitations to the Health of Labour Force: Analysis of the Convergence Process of the EU Economies
Purpose: Assessment of the scale of impact of behavioural factors on the level of burden placed the EU economies with consequences of the so-called chronic conditions in the context of limitation to a potential productivity of human resources and identification of convergence processes taking place in this area. Design/Methodology/Approach: The scale of impact of behavioural factors on the level of limitations to the health of labour force of the EU countries was measured with a number of years of life lost (YLL) and years lived with disability (YLD) for people of working age due to chronic conditions. Verification of the hypothesis on a persistent high level of dispersion was based on the analysis of the convergence process in a group of the EU states (β and σ) in the years 1997-2017. Findings: The obtained results indicate that the level of health limitations determined by behavioural factors is subject to strong diversification in the EU-28 group. The observed inequalities concern particularly the Old-New Europe relation, indicating a great burden with health consequences of citizens from Central and Eastern European countries. The conducted assessment of the convergence process in the EU-28 group has indicated that despite the implemented cohesion policy in that area, a high level of dispersion of the studied phenomenon is still maintained. Practical Implications: The obtained results of an assessment of the convergence process among the EU countries in the area of health inequalities constitute a real basis for the design of measures within the scope of rational cohesion policy and estimation of economic costs of the phenomenon of a limited productivity of human resources. Originality/Value: The presented analysis results constitute the author’s original contribution to the discussion on the scale, reasons, as well as social and economic inequalities in health observed in the context of Old Europe and New Europe.