This article summarizes the findings of the research projects presented in the Special Report on the Political and Social Contexts of Health, Parts I and Part II, which show how societies' socioeconomic, political, and cultural variables are the most important factors in explaining their populations' levels of health. The main findings are: (1) Countries and regions with better distributed economic resources (such as income and employment) and social resources (such as health care, education, and family supportive services) have better health indicators, and (2) this is the source of the superior health performance of European countries over the United States. (3) Pro-redistribution policies improve the health of populations not only through their impact on reducing poverty: they improve the health of the most impoverished and of the entire population. (4) Universal pro-redistribution policies are more effective in improving populations' level of health than are programs specifically targeted at reducing poverty. (5) Politics matters: the length of time in government of pro-redistribution parties is, in general, positively related to levels of health in the OECD countries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy