Health costs and benefits of economic policy

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The purpose of this study is to translate research findings on pathological effects of unemployment and other forms of economic distress into a form that would be useful for national economic policy decisions. Economic indices considered by themselves are questionable because such data permit no inferences as to quantitative social implications. In the present report, we have brought together several of the scientific findings on the impact of economic distress in a policy relevant framework which would ultimately permit quantitative estimates of that impact on social pathology. Some success has been achieved in formulating models to explain how the various sources of national economic distress may be associated with pathology. Overall, it is evident that significant relationships exist between economic policy and measures of national well-being. This study indicates that actions which influence national economic activity - especially the unemployment rate - have a substantial bearing on physical health, mental health, and criminal aggression. To the extent, therefore, that economic policy has acted to influence economic activity, it has always been related to the nation's social health. It would appear that on a day-to-day basis, nearly all political and deliberate economic policy decisions which affect the national, regional, and local economic situations also are associated with many aspects of the nation's well-being. Indeed, significant amelioration of many of our basic social problems may depend, in part, on national economic policy considerations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-623
Number of pages43
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1977


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