Health inequalities: a challenge for the social investment welfare state

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Social investment policy has become a central response to the demographic and economic challenges facing European welfare states. This focus on investment in human capabilities and their efficient use is, however, challenged by health inequalities where education, health and employment are increasingly linked. This paper outlines the main principles of social investment policies (learning, activation and protection) and links them to a conceptual model of health inequalities and the policy entry-points tackling them by addressing the processes of social stratification, differential exposure and vulnerability as well as differential consequences of illness. It illustrates, with reference to selected empirical studies from the Nordic countries, how the balance between the elements of social investment policies might be adjusted, resources allocated differently and policies supplemented by more direct investments in health so as to enable social investments to tackle the health divide.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalNordic Welfare Research
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 168940158