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Transcending Neoliberal Health Policies

Transcending Neoliberal Health Policies

(p.207) Chapter Eight Transcending Neoliberal Health Policies
Beyond the World Bank Agenda
Howard Stein
University of Chicago Press

In spite of these enormous health challenges and the preventable nature of many illnesses afflicting the poor in developing countries, the World Bank largely neglected health issues for many decades. Moreover, when the Bank finally began to focus on this area, strategies were designed by neoclassical economists rather than by health experts. The first part of this chapter documents the history of health policy at the World Bank, including the increasing influence of economic thinking during the 1980s. It shows that Bank health economists not only influenced health policy within the organization, but also greatly influenced the agendas of other donor agencies. This is followed by an empirical review of the impact of the reform policies. The latter part of the chapter develops an institutional approach to health care based not on some optimum level of health spending, but rather on an intuitive approach that carefully applies the institutional matrix to concrete health problems.

Keywords:   World Bank, health policy, developing countries, health economists, health care, institutional matrix

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