My new article “Health and the Social Investment State” with Janna Goijaerts and Jet Bussemaker (both Leiden University) is now published online in the Journal of European Public Policy. This is the first article of Janna’s PhD thesis. In this article, we argue that scholarship on social policy and the welfare state requires new studies on health: studying not the healthcare sector, but public health. Our goal is to bring core insights from social epidemiology in conversation with welfare state research. We argue that the social investment framework has the most potential for this integration.
The objective of social investment policies is to keep modern welfare states sustainable by maintaining high employment and strong human capital. This requires not only a large and well-educated workforce, but also a healthy one. We propose a research agenda for welfare state scholarship on public health, based on the different policy functions of the social investment state as explained by Anton Hemerijck (2018): stock, flow, buffer.
Our call for action: 1) health should not only be studied separately as a sector in the welfare state, but as an integrated part of the welfare state as a whole; 2) health outcomes should be added as outcome measures of all welfare state arrangements, not only for healthcare policy; 3) health should be viewed as necessary input for the effectiveness of active social policies in the social investment state; and 4) complex mechanisms between macro-level welfare institutions and micro-level health outcomes should be untangled, so we can understand the complex ways in which different policies intersect and/or overlap.
Read the full article here.