Cross posted from: EQUIDAD@listserv.paho.org
Economic Arguments for addressing the social determinants of health inequalities
Working Document No.4 - 2009
DETERMINE - EU Consortium for Action on the Socioeconomic Determinants of
Available online PDF [31p.] at:
“………….an overview of how the framework for identifying and exploring economic
arguments for addressing social determinants of health inequalities was
developed. It also describes how the data was collected and provides general
comments on responses received.
This chapter presents the findings of a literature review conducted in June
2008 together with further research in April 2009. The review was undertaken to
help inform and shape further data collection by establishing the main economic
arguments for addressing social determinants of health inequalities.
Health can be considered in economic terms as both a capital and a consumption
good. In the case of health as a capital good, people in good health attract a
higher value than those in poor health due to their greater ability to be
economically productive. Health as a consumption good is concerned with the
contribution that good health makes to an individual’s wellbeing, happiness or
Targeted investment to address health inequalities by action on social
determinants of health is more cost effective than paying later for the
consequences of these inequalities. It follows then that addressing health
inequalities is not only a matter of social justice but also contributes to
The aim of this task was to better understand if and how economic arguments are
being used to address social determinants of health inequalities within
selected member states and by the institutions of the European Union. It is
intended to use findings from this task to achieve more widespread adoption of
effective and proven approaches to tackling health inequalities.
The objectives of the task were:
• To explore opportunities and challenges to using economic arguments to
address social determinants of health inequalities.
• To identify examples of relevant economic evaluations that consider outcomes
in terms of health and health inequalities.
1. Instrument design and data collection
2. Making the case: Establishing economic arguments
3. Opportunities and challenges to using economic arguments
4. Examples of economic evaluations that consider health outcomes
5. Conclusion and recommendations
Appendix 1: Glossary of frequently used terms
Appendix 2: Task timeline & questionnaire
Ruggiero, Mrs. Ana Lucia (WDC)