© 2017

Banking on Health

The World Bank and Health Sector Reform in Latin America


About this book


This book addresses the puzzle of why the World Bank was unable to effect sweeping neoliberal health reforms in Latin America from the 1980s onward. Through the use of quantitative regional data together with interview and archival data collected during fieldwork in Argentina, Costa Rica, Peru, and Washington DC, this book argues that the answer to this puzzle is twofold. First, the World Bank has not promoted a uniformly neoliberal, monolithic agenda in health. Second, countries’ autonomy and capacity in this sector shape how the World Bank is involved in reforms. Finally, the book distinguishes neoliberal ends from means in health sector reform and traces changes in “banking on health” over time. 


privatization marketization individualism health sector developing world global ministries of health World Health Organization global health structural adjustment programs normative power market fundamentalism anti-statism health expenditures

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

About the authors

Shiri Noy is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Denison University, USA. She is the author of several articles on global health in Latin American Policy, Sociology of Development, and the International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Bibliographic information


“Noy’s work is an excellent installation into the world of comparative, global/ transnational sociology. Her mixed-methods approach is inspirational, and her findings encourage us to always look beyond the conventional narratives that some scholars assume are uniformly true. Her work would be an excellent addition to courses on medical sociology, global/transnational sociology, comparative sociology, the welfare state, and Latin America.” (Timothy Gill, Social Forces, Vol. 96 (4), 2018)