Stream 19: Health, social exclusion, and social policy solutions

Maria Vaalavuo and Iben Nørup

Plenty of evidence exists on the connection between health outcomes and socioeconomic status: there is a strong social gradient in health, meaning that people with lower socioeconomic status have poorer health than people with higher socioeconomic status. Many studies have contributed to our understanding whether poor health causes lower incomes or leads to unemployment (social selection) or, if lower socioeconomic status leads to worse health outcomes (social causation). Alternatively, a third factor, e.g. risky behavior, could cause both poor health and low socioeconomic status.

Understanding the connection between health and various forms of social exclusion is important for designing better policies that promote better health and help to build an inclusive society. Studies on this topic can illustrate whether so-called social investment policies (e.g. health promotion, education, active labour market policies) are necessary in some cases or whether a general improvement of living conditions among the socially excluded (e.g. social benefits) will be more effective.

In this stream we would like to discuss the importance of health in the analysis of social policy and various social outcomes. Studies focusing both on social selection and social causation are welcomed, and could address the following questions: Are there differences between countries or social groups in the extent to which health plays a role in the social exclusion process or how e.g. unemployment affects one’s health status? What institutional factors or policy instruments could reduce the risk of bad health among socially excluded?

This stream invites empirical papers that 1) explore the connection between health and aspects of social exclusion (poverty, dropping out of school, unemployment etc.), 2) try to understand the mechanisms that link health with social exclusion, or 3) analyze policies or institutions that are effective in downplaying the role of health in social exclusion process or the impact of social exclusion on health outcomes.

Abstracts can be submitted through the online abstract submission system: http://espanet.axacoair.com