Was Mackenbach right? Towards a practical political science of redistribution and health inequalities

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Abstract

In 2010, Mackenbach reflected on England's lack of success in reducing health inequalities between 1997 and 2010, asserting that “it is difficult to imagine a longer window of opportunity for tackling health inequalities”; asking “[i]f this did not work, what will?”; and concluding that reducing health inequalities was not politically feasible at least in that jurisdiction. Exploring the empirics of that observation offers a window into the politics of reducing health inequalities. For purposes of future comparative research, I outline three (not mutually exclusive) perspectives on political feasibility, identify their implications for a political science of health inequalities, and explore what they mean for advocacy in support of reducing those inequalities.

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