Journal Article

The political economy of health promotion: part 2, national provision of the prerequisites of health<sup>†</sup>

Dennis Raphael

in Health Promotion International

Volume 28, issue 1, pages 112-132
Published in print March 2013 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
The political economy of health promotion: part 2, national provision of the prerequisites of health†

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Governmental authorities of wealthy developed nations differ in their professed commitments and activity related to the provision of the prerequisites of health through public policy action. Part 1 of this article showed how nations identified as social democratic or liberal welfare states were those where such commitments are present. Nations identified as conservative or Latin welfare states were less likely to express such commitments. However, the political economy literature suggests that despite their expressed commitments to provision of the prerequisites of health, liberal welfare states fare rather poorly in implementing these commitments. The opposite is seen for conservative welfare states. Social democratic welfare states show both commitments and public policy consistent with this objective. Part 2 of this article documents the extent to which public policy activity that provides the prerequisites of health through public policy action differs among varying welfare state regimes. Despite extensive rhetoric concerning the prerequisites of health, nations identified as liberal welfare states do a rather poor job of meeting these goals and show evidence of adverse health outcomes. In contrast, social democratic welfare states fare better in providing such prerequisites—consistent with their rhetorical statements—with better health outcomes. Interestingly, conservative—and to a lesser extent Latin—nations fare well in providing the prerequisites of health despite their lack of explicit commitment to such concepts. Findings suggest that health promoters have to concern themselves with the broad strokes of public policymaking whether or not these policy activities are identified as health promotion activities.

Keywords: government programmes; health policy; public health

Journal Article.  9057 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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