Comparative Public Health: The Political Economy of Human Misery and Well-Being
The health of humanity varies enormously: by genetic endowment, environmental conditions, and access to health care; by age, gender, income level, and country.1 Some people live long healthy lives in peace and affluence; many others’ lives are briefer and burdened by major disabilities from disease or injury, and often the characterization “nasty, brutish, and short” is all too apt. Our central claim in this chapter is that politics plays an important role in influencing public health conditions, but unfortunately political scientists and other scholars have only conducted limited systematic research on the topic.2 As a result, the existing literature on the comparative cross-national analysis of the determinants of public health performance is largely based on the work of economists and public health experts in which political processes and conditions are understudied.3 We believe that political scientists can contribute substantially to a better understanding of why public health conditions vary in systematic ways across countries.
KeywordsIncome Inequality Health Expenditure Public Spending Health Spending Global Community
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Bruce Moon, The Political Economy of Basic Human Needs (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991)Google Scholar
- Andrew Price-Smith, The Health of Nations (Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 2002).Google Scholar
- 4.In this we respond to the call of Gary King and Christopher Murray, “Rethinking Human Security,” Political Science Quarterly 117 (Winter 2002), 585–610Google Scholar
- 9.World Health Organization, The World Health Report 2000: Health Systems: Improving Performance (Geneva: WHO, 2000), 28.Google Scholar
- 14.Ghanshyam Shah, Public Health and Urban Development (London: Sage, 1997)Google Scholar
- Laurie Garrett, “The Return of Infectious Disease,” in Andrew Price-Smith, ed., Plague and Politics (New York: Palgrave, 2001), 183–94Google Scholar
- 25.See Ted Robert Gurr, Peoples versus States: Minorities at Risk in the New Century (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2000).Google Scholar
- 27.Ted Robert Gurr, Minorities at Risk: A Global View of Ethnopolitical Conflict (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1993).Google Scholar
- 28.Nicole Ball, Security and Economy in the Third World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988)Google Scholar
- 38.United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects: The 1996 Revision (New York: United Nations, 1998), 132–35.Google Scholar