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Exacerbating Inequalities?: Health policy and the behavioural sciences

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Exacerbating Inequalities? Health policy and the behavioural sciences. / MacKay, Kathryn; Quigley, Muireann.

In: Health Care Analysis, Vol. 26, No. 4, 12.2018, p. 380-397.

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MacKay, Kathryn ; Quigley, Muireann. / Exacerbating Inequalities? Health policy and the behavioural sciences. In: Health Care Analysis. 2018 ; Vol. 26, No. 4. pp. 380-397.

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@article{cc74750045bf44329839c7c0f7b03572,
title = "Exacerbating Inequalities?: Health policy and the behavioural sciences",
abstract = "There have been calls for some time for a new approach to public health in the United Kingdom and beyond. This is consequent on the recognition and acceptance that health problems often have a complex and multi-faceted aetiol-ogy. At the same time, policies which utilise insights from research in behavioural economics and psychology ({\textquoteleft}behavioural science{\textquoteright}) have gained prominence on the political agenda. The relationship between the social determinants of health (SDoH) and behavioural science in health policy has not hitherto been explored. Given the on-going presence of strategies based on findings from behavioural science in pol-icy-making on the political agenda, an examination of this is warranted. This paper begins by looking at the place of the SDoH within public health, before outlining, in brief, the recent drive towards utilising behavioural science to formulate law and public policy. We then examine the relationship between this and the SDoH. We argue that behavioural public health policy is, to a certain extent, blind to the social and other determinants of health. In section three, we examine ways in which such policies may perpetuate and/or exacerbate health inequities and social injustices. We argue that problems in this respect may be compounded by assumptions and practices which are built into some behavioural science methodologies. We also argue that incremental individual gains may not be enough. As such, population-level measures are sometimes necessary. In section four we defend this contention, arguing that an equitable and justifiable public health requires such measures.",
keywords = "Inequity, Public health, Social determinants, Behavioural science, Health policy, Regulation",
author = "Kathryn MacKay and Muireann Quigley",
year = "2018",
month = dec,
doi = "10.1007/s10728-018-0357-y",
language = "English",
volume = "26",
pages = "380--397",
journal = "Health Care Analysis",
issn = "1065-3058",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exacerbating Inequalities?

T2 - Health policy and the behavioural sciences

AU - MacKay, Kathryn

AU - Quigley, Muireann

PY - 2018/12

Y1 - 2018/12

N2 - There have been calls for some time for a new approach to public health in the United Kingdom and beyond. This is consequent on the recognition and acceptance that health problems often have a complex and multi-faceted aetiol-ogy. At the same time, policies which utilise insights from research in behavioural economics and psychology (‘behavioural science’) have gained prominence on the political agenda. The relationship between the social determinants of health (SDoH) and behavioural science in health policy has not hitherto been explored. Given the on-going presence of strategies based on findings from behavioural science in pol-icy-making on the political agenda, an examination of this is warranted. This paper begins by looking at the place of the SDoH within public health, before outlining, in brief, the recent drive towards utilising behavioural science to formulate law and public policy. We then examine the relationship between this and the SDoH. We argue that behavioural public health policy is, to a certain extent, blind to the social and other determinants of health. In section three, we examine ways in which such policies may perpetuate and/or exacerbate health inequities and social injustices. We argue that problems in this respect may be compounded by assumptions and practices which are built into some behavioural science methodologies. We also argue that incremental individual gains may not be enough. As such, population-level measures are sometimes necessary. In section four we defend this contention, arguing that an equitable and justifiable public health requires such measures.

AB - There have been calls for some time for a new approach to public health in the United Kingdom and beyond. This is consequent on the recognition and acceptance that health problems often have a complex and multi-faceted aetiol-ogy. At the same time, policies which utilise insights from research in behavioural economics and psychology (‘behavioural science’) have gained prominence on the political agenda. The relationship between the social determinants of health (SDoH) and behavioural science in health policy has not hitherto been explored. Given the on-going presence of strategies based on findings from behavioural science in pol-icy-making on the political agenda, an examination of this is warranted. This paper begins by looking at the place of the SDoH within public health, before outlining, in brief, the recent drive towards utilising behavioural science to formulate law and public policy. We then examine the relationship between this and the SDoH. We argue that behavioural public health policy is, to a certain extent, blind to the social and other determinants of health. In section three, we examine ways in which such policies may perpetuate and/or exacerbate health inequities and social injustices. We argue that problems in this respect may be compounded by assumptions and practices which are built into some behavioural science methodologies. We also argue that incremental individual gains may not be enough. As such, population-level measures are sometimes necessary. In section four we defend this contention, arguing that an equitable and justifiable public health requires such measures.

KW - Inequity

KW - Public health

KW - Social determinants

KW - Behavioural science

KW - Health policy

KW - Regulation

U2 - 10.1007/s10728-018-0357-y

DO - 10.1007/s10728-018-0357-y

M3 - Journal article

VL - 26

SP - 380

EP - 397

JO - Health Care Analysis

JF - Health Care Analysis

SN - 1065-3058

IS - 4

ER -