1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Health and Healthcare

Edited By David Primrose, Rodney D. Loeppky, Robin Chang Copyright 2024
    540 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This handbook provides a comprehensive and critical overview of the gamut of contemporary issues around health and healthcare from a political economy perspective. Its contributions present a unique challenge to prevailing economic accounts of health and healthcare, which narrowly focus on individual behaviour and market processes. Instead, the capacity of the human body to reach its full potential and the ability of society to prevent disease and cure illness are demonstrated to be shaped by a broader array of political economic processes. The material conditions in which societies produce, distribute, exchange, consume, and reproduce – and the operation of power relations therein – influence all elements of human health: from food consumption and workplace safety, to inequality, healthcare and housing, and even the biophysical conditions in which humans live.

    This volume explores these concerns across five sections. First, it introduces and critically engages with a variety of established and cutting-edge theoretical perspectives in political economy to conceptualise health and healthcare – from neoclassical and behavioural economics, to Marxist and feminist approaches. The next two sections extend these insights to evaluate the neoliberalisation of health and healthcare over the past 40 years, highlighting their individualisation and commodification by the capitalist state and powerful corporations. The fourth section examines the diverse manifestation of these dynamics across a range of geographical contexts. The volume concludes with a section devoted to outlining more progressive health and healthcare arrangements, which transcend the limitations of both neoliberalism and capitalism.

    This volume will be an indispensable reference work for students and scholars of political economy, health policy and politics, health economics, health geography, the sociology of health, and other health-related disciplines.

    Chapters 1 & 8 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at http://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons [CC BY NC ND] 4.0 license.

    1. Revitalizing the political economy of health and healthcare in a context of crisis

    David Primrose and Rodney Loeppky

    PART I Theorizing health and healthcare

    2. Mainstream health economics and the COVID-19 pandemic

    John B. Davis, Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Gerry McCartney and Robert McMaster

    3. The economics of conventions

    Philippe Batifoulier and Nicolas Da Silva

    4. Understanding Marx on health: Towards a class-based approach

    Raju Das

    5. Feminist political economy, health and care

    Tamara Daly

    6. Post-Keynesian economics and healthcare

    Steven Pressman

    7. New materialisms and the (critical) micropolitical economy of health

    Nick J. Fox

    8. A lop-sided reflation: The limited contribution of behavioral economics to the political economy of obesity

    David Primrose

    PART II Contemporary political-economic dimensions of health

    9. A critical political economy of health inequities

    Arnel Borras

    10. Issues of social reproduction and the political economy of health

    Sarah Redikopp

    11. Health and the corporate agri-food system

    Jennifer Lacy-Nichols and Gyorgy Scrinis

    12. Neoliberalism and health in global context: The role of international organizations

    Timon Forster, Thomas H. Stubbs and Alexander E. Kentikelenis

    13. Neoliberalism and mental health

    Jana Fey

    14. Occupational health and safety in the global garment industry

    Patrick Neveling

    15. Political economy and social epidemiology in the context of the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa

    Kevin Deane

    16. Digital health and capitalism

    Olivia Banner

    17. The political economy of health and place: From the Great Compression to COVID-19

    Clare Bambra

    PART III Contemporary political-economic dimensions of healthcare

    18. Commodified healthcare, profits, priorities and the disregard for life under capitalism

    Isaac Christiansen

    19. The financialization of long-term care in Canada: The case of Ontario

    Jackie Brown

    20. The anatomy of Big Pharma

    Marc-André Gagnon

    21. Automating the welfare state: The case of disability benefits and services

    Georgia van Toorn

    22. Understanding the health-politics nexus in the shadow of populism: Towards a political science of, and for, health

    Volkan Yilmaz

    23. Trade and investment: The re-ordering of healthcare and public health policy?

    Deborah Gleeson and Belinda Townsend

    24. Universal health coverage: A case-study of the political economy of global health

    David G. Legge

    PART IV Geographical varieties of health and healthcare

    25. The critical political economy of Latin America’s healthcare systems: A century of struggles

    Laura Nervi and Anne-Emanuelle Birn

    26. The political economy of healthcare policy in Africa in the age of COVID-19

    Jean-Germain Gros

    27. Transformation of healthcare in China: The pre-and post-Maoist eras

    Rama V. Baru and Madhurima Nundy

    28. The political economy of health and healthcare in India

    Shailender Kumar Hooda

    29. The political economy of the postsocialist mortality crisis

    Gabor Scheiring and Lawrence King

    30. Healthcare in Australia: Contesting marketized provision

    Ben Spies-Butcher

    31. The political economy of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom

    Jonathan Filippon

    32. Health and healthcare in the United States

    Rodney Loeppky

    33. The new health politics of austerity in Europe

    Scott L. Greer and Margitta Mätzke

    PART V Alternative paths toward health and healthcare

    34. Social welfare and alternative forms of health provision: The UK experience and radical new frontiers

    Chris Thomas

    35. The need for comprehensive primary healthcare

    Toby Freeman and Fran Baum

    36. The political economy of healthcare as commons: Exploring the commons health system and Indigenous peoples

    Young Soon Wong

    37. Diverse economies of care-full healthcare: Banking and sharing human milk

    Lindsay Naylor

    38. The political economy of health and degrowth

    Jean-Louis Aillon and Mauro Bonaiuti

    39. Cuban medical internationalism: A radical alternative approach to medical ‘aid’

    John M. Kirk

    40. The transition to post-capitalist health and healthcare

    Howard Waitzkin



    David Primrose is in the Menzies Centre for Health Policy and Economics, University of Sydney, Australia.

    Rodney Loeppky is in the Department of Political Science, York University, Canada.

    Robin Chang is in the Department of Political Science, York University, Canada.

    ‘A smorgasbord of insights into the world of healthcare, it is a celebration of the very best of political economy with its capacity to make sense of economic and social issues with immediate relevance for the health and well-being of humans.’

    Fran Collyer, Professor of Sociology, University of Wollongong, and President RC08 International Sociological Association

    ‘This book, containing a commendably broad array of chapters by international experts, takes stock of these main strands of research and the insights they offer. Right up-to-date, it looks at the key political economic lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking to the future, it identifies what changes to political economic arrangements would be conducive to creating healthy societies. It is an eye-opener and a must-read.’

    Frank Stilwell, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Sydney

    ‘This handbook is a vital contribution to our understanding of an impressive range of topics and critical perspectives. It diagnoses urgent shortcomings in the current system and offers constructive approaches for reducing health harms.’

    Susan K. Sell, Professor of Regulation and Global Governance, Australian National University, and Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University

    The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Health and Healthcare makes a superb contribution to the necessary and inevitable literature of what went wrong with the institutions responsible for the COVID-19 crisis.’

    Robert Chernomas, Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba