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The Political Economy of Public Health: Challenges for Ethics

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ted Schrecker



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


As an analytical approach, the political economy of health “requires attention to the political and economic structures, processes and power relationships that produce” distributions of health and illness, in the words of epidemiologist Nancy Krieger. This chapter demonstrates the value of this approach with reference to domestic and global cases and is organized around three key messages. First, public finance is a public health issue. Second, the transnational corporate role in the spread of disease must be taken into account in public health ethics. Third, ethics and politics cannot be separated in public health. The chapter concludes with three challenges for building a public health ethics that “speaks truth about power” in an increasingly inhospitable policy environment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Schrecker T

Editor(s): Mastroianni, A; Kahn, J; Kass, N

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics

Year: 2019

Pages: 842-856

Print publication date: 09/09/2019

Online publication date: 01/03/2019

Acceptance date: 01/07/2018

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Place Published: New York


DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190245191.013.73

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780190245191