The political context of social inequalities and health
This analysis reflects on the importance of political parties, and the policies they implement when in government, in determining the level of equalities/inequalities in a society, the extent of the welfare state (including the level of health care coverage by the state), the employment/unemployment rate, and the level of population health. The study looks at the impact of the major political traditions in the advanced OECD countries during the golden years of capitalism (1945-1980) -- social democratic, Christian democratic, liberal, and ex-fascist -- in four areas: (1) the main determinants of income inequalities, such as the overall distribution of income derived from capital versus labor, wage dispersion in the labor force, the redistributive effect of the welfare state, and the levels and types of employment/unemployment; (2) levels of public expenditures and health care benefits coverage; (3) public support of services to families, such as child care and domiciliary care; and (4) the level of population health as measured by infant mortality rates. The results indicate that political traditions more committed to redistributive policies (both economic and social) and full-employment policies, such as the social democratic parties, were generally more successful in improving the health of populations, such as reducing infant mortality. The erroneous assumption of a conflict between social equity and economic efficiency, as in the liberal tradition, is also discussed. The study aims at filling a void in the growing health and social inequalities literature, which rarely touches on the importance of political forces in influencing inequalities. The data used in the study are largely from OECD health data for 1997 and 1998; the OECD statistical services; the comparative welfare state data set assembled by Huber, Ragin and Stephens; and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 52 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (February)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:52:y:2001:i:3:p:481-491. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.