University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Bradford Hill seminars at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health > The Political Economy of Public Health: Explaining the Postcommunist Mortality Crisis

The Political Economy of Public Health: Explaining the Postcommunist Mortality Crisis

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Larry King is a political economist whose work addresses the 'social determinants of the social determinants' of health

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the countries of the former Soviet bloc underwent a rapid transition to markets and private property. Life expectancy, stagnating since the 1960s, was expected to rapidly converge with rates in Western Europe. While a few countries in Central Eastern Europe did move on to this path, many others underwent a “reverse epidemiological transition” – life expectancy declined by up to 6 years, and there was a resurgence of infectious diseases like TB. Excess mortality in the 1990s, or deaths that would not have occurred if mortality had remained at 1989 levels, totaled over 3.2 million lives. This talk will present evidence linking the variation in the increase in mortality and TB to macro- and micro-economic reforms that accompanied the transition to capitalism in the early 1990s. This type of analysis is an example of the political economy of public health, a multi-disciplinary approach linking the Germanic tradition of social science to public health research.

This talk is part of the Bradford Hill seminars at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health series.

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