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The relationship between international trade and non-nutritional health outcomes: A systematic review of quantitative studies

Listed author(s):
  • Burns, Darren K.
  • Jones, Andrew P.
  • Suhrcke, Marc
Registered author(s):

    Markets throughout the world have been reducing barriers to international trade and investment in recent years. The resulting increases in levels of international trade and investment have subsequently generated research interest into the potential population health impact. We present a systematic review of quantitative studies investigating the relationship between international trade, foreign direct investment and non-nutritional health outcomes. Articles were systematically collected from the SCOPUS, PubMed, EconLit and Web of Science databases. Due to the heterogeneous nature of the evidence considered, the 16 included articles were subdivided into individual level data analyses, selected country analyses and international panel analyses. Articles were then quality assessed using a tool developed as part of the project. Nine of the studies were assessed to be high quality, six as medium quality, and one as low quality. The evidence from the quantitative literature suggests that overall, there appears to be a beneficial association between international trade and population health. There was also evidence of the importance of foreign direct investment, yet a lack of research considering the direction of causality. Taken together, quantitative research into the relationship between trade and non-nutritional health indicates trade to be beneficial, yet this body of research is still in its infancy. Future quantitative studies based on this foundation will provide a stronger basis on which to inform relevant national and international institutions about the health consequences of trade policies.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953616300211
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 152 (2016)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 9-17

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:152:y:2016:i:c:p:9-17
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.01.021
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    1. Emily Oster, 2012. "Routes Of Infection: Exports And Hiv Incidence In Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1025-1058, October.
    2. Bergh, Andreas & Nilsson, Therese, 2010. "Good for Living? On the Relationship between Globalization and Life Expectancy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1191-1203, September.
    3. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
    4. Gerring, John & Thacker, Strom C., 2008. "Do Neoliberal Economic Policies Kill or Save Lives?," Business and Politics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 1-31, December.
    5. Céline Azémar & Rodolphe Desbordes, 2009. "Public Governance, Health and Foreign Direct Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(4), pages 667-709, August.
    6. Alsan, Marcella & Bloom, David E. & Canning, David, 2006. "The effect of population health on foreign direct investment inflows to low- and middle-income countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 613-630, April.
    7. Niclas Berggren & Henrik Jordahl, 2005. "Does free trade really reduce growth? Further testing using the economic freedom index," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 99-114, January.
    8. Chantal Blouin & Nick Drager & Richard Smith, 2006. "International Trade in Health Services and the GATS : Current Issues and Debates," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7402, April.
    9. Moore, Spencer & Teixeira, Ana C. & Shiell, Alan, 2006. "The health of nations in a global context: Trade, global stratification, and infant mortality rates," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 165-178, July.
    10. Smith, Richard D, 2004. "Foreign direct investment and trade in health services: A review of the literature," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(11), pages 2313-2323, December.
    11. Ann L. Owen & Stephen Wu, 2007. "Is Trade Good for Your Health?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 660-682, September.
    12. Levine, David I. & Rothman, Dov, 2006. "Does trade affect child health?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 538-554, May.
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