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Health and the social investment state

Recent years have seen a vibrant scholarship on health policy and politics. While much is now known about changes to health policies and institutions over time, this study finds that scholarship still lacks research on the linkages between health policies and health outcomes (Marmor & Wendt, 2012). This study argues that a new strand of health policy and politics scholarship is needed: studying not the healthcare sector, but public health.

Janna Goijaerts, Natascha van der Zwan, Jet Bussemaker
06 March 2022
Find the article here

This paper calls on social policy scholars to approach health differently in their research. Its goal is to bring core insights from social epidemiology into conversation with welfare state and social policy research. The authors argue that the social investment framework has the most potential for this integration. The objective of social investment policies is to keep modern welfare states sustainable through high employment and strong human capital. This requires not only a large and well-educated workforce, but also a healthy one. Specifically, it is encouraged to social policy scholars to engage with the social determinants of health literature by studying health not as outcome of the healthcare sector but of the welfare state as a whole. This study argues that the social investment framework facilitates these endeavours and it offers suggestions for future research. It states that health should not just be seen as an outcome of specific policies, but rather as input for a sustainable welfare state.

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