National Academy of Medicine

Economic Policy: An Important (But Overlooked) Piece of "Health in All Policies"

By Elizabeth Rigby
September 18, 2013 | Discussion Paper

In this discussion paper, Elizabeth Rigby identifies an important gap in efforts to consider the health effects of policy decisions in non-health sectors, such as transportation, housing, and education. These Health in All Policies (HiAP) efforts often overlook economic policy, which shapes the distribution of income and wealth in society. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that economic policy occurs at higher levels of government (state or federal) and many HiAP activities involve local-level actors; the evidence base on health effects of economic policies is still evolving; and economic policy-making is often fraught with social and political complexity and controversy.

This paper has been written in part to inform participants at the September 19, 2013, workshop of the IOM Roundtable on Population Health Improvement, Applying a Health Lens to Decision Making in Non-Health Sectors.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.