Locating politics in social epidemiology

Carles Muntaner, Carme Borrell, Edwin Ng, Haejoo Chung, Albert Espelt, Maica Rodriguez-Sanz, Joan Benach, Patricia O'Campo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Citations (Scopus)


Recent social epidemiologic research has focused on the impact of politics, expressed as political traditions or parties and welfare state characteristics, on population health. Guided by a political economy of health and welfare regimes framework, this chapter synthesizes this growing body of evidence and locates 73 empirical and comparative studies on politics and health meeting our inclusion criteria. Two major research programs - welfare regimes and democracy - and two emerging programs - political tradition and globalization - are identified. Primary findings include: (1) left and egalitarian political traditions on population health are the most salutary, consistent and substantial; (2) the health impacts of advanced and liberal democracies are also positive and large; (3) welfare regime studies, primarily conducted amongst wealthy countries, find that Social Democratic regimes tend to fare best with absolute health outcomes yet inconsistently in terms of relative health inequalities; and (4) globalization defined as dependency indicators such as trade, foreign investment and national debt is negatively associated with population health.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Social Epidemiology
Subtitle of host publicationTowards a Science of Change
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9789400721388
ISBN (Print)9400721374, 9789400721371
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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