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Decomposing the effect of social policies on population health and inequalities: An empirical example of unemployment benefits
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI). Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
2014 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 42, no 7, 635-642 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim: The purpose of this study is to discuss and empirically contrast different conceptualizations and operationalizations of social policies in analysing health and educational differences in health cross-nationally. Methods: Country-level institutional and expenditure data on unemployment benefit schemes and individual-level data from the EU-SILC for 23 countries were used to analyse the association between unemployment benefits and self-assessed health for individuals with different educational attainment. Results: The analyses indicate that higher coverage rate (i.e. the proportion of the relevant population eligible for benefits) is associated with better self-related health among both low- and high-educated individuals, but is not linked to smaller educational differences in health. In contrast, replacement rate (i.e. the amount of benefits received) in isolation is not related to self-assessed health. However, in countries where coverage rates are high, higher replacement rates are associated with better health among both low- and high-educated individuals and smaller educational differences in health. Conclusions: Decomposing unemployment benefit programmes into two main dimensions – the proportion in the labour force covered by such programmes and the replacement rate received in case of unemployment – may present further insights into institutional mechanisms linking macro-level social policies to individual-level health outcomes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 42, no 7, 635-642 p.
Keyword [en]
coverage, institutional approach, replacement rate, self-assessed health, unemployment benefits, welfare state
National Category
Sociology Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110488DOI: 10.1177/1403494814546349PubMedID: 25192912OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-110488DiVA: diva2:771770
Available from: 2014-12-15 Created: 2014-12-15 Last updated: 2017-09-11Bibliographically approved

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