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The global financial crisis and health equity: toward a conceptual framework

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In this article, we identify pathways that link the global financial crisis to health equity. We distinguish between direct and indirect channels of influence, and develop a conceptual model that builds on the literature analyzing the impacts of globalization on social determinants of health. The most pertinent direct pathways discussed are economic contraction, health budget cutbacks, rise in unemployment, and qualitative transformations of health systems. We also outline how other indirect channels of influence are likely to affect health equity, including cutbacks to welfare programs, labor market transformations, the emergence of an ideological climate conducive to austerity politics, and reductions in official development assistance. We conclude by suggesting that the current intensification of neoliberal policy implementation is likely to undermine health equity, and that a different path toward economic recovery is required to ensure equitable access to health care.
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Keywords: global financial crisis; health equity; health governance; population health; social determinants of health

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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