Case studies on employment-related health inequalities in countries representing different types of labor markets

Il Ho Kim, Carles Muntaner, Haejoo Chung, Joan Benach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The authors selected nine case studies, one country from each cluster of their labor market inequalities typology, to outline the macro-political and economic roots of employment relations and their impacts on health. These countries illustrate variations in labor markets and health, categorized into a global empirical typology. The case studies illustrated that workers' health is significantly connected with labor market characteristics and the welfare system. For a core country, the labor market is characterized by a formal sector. The labor institutions of Sweden traditionally have high union density and collective bargaining coverage and a universal health care system, which correlate closely with positive health, in comparison with Spain and the United States. For a semi-periphery country, the labor market is delineated by a growing informal economy. Although South Korea, Venezuela, and El Salvador provide some social welfare benefits, a high proportion of irregular and informal workers are excluded from these benefits and experience hazardous working conditions that adversely affect their health. Lastly, several countries in the global periphery-China, Nigeria, and Haiti-represent informal work and severe labor market insecurity. In the absence of labor market regulations, the majority of their workers toil in the informal sector in unsafe conditions with inadequate health care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-267
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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