Neoliberalism and Health Inequalities

Charles Collins, Gerry McCartney, Lisa Garnham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter deals with neoliberalism and its impacts in terms of inequalities in general, and health inequalities in particular. It begins by describing the historical and political roots of neoliberalism, before moving on to consider the various ways in which ideas associated with neoliberalism have been implemented across different contexts (with a particular focus on the UK and the USA). Next, the chapter draws on empirical data to consider how and why neoliberalism is implicated in the rise in, and persistence of, health inequalities, before reviewing key debates surrounding the pathways linking neoliberal policies and practices with poor health outcomes. The chapter concludes with a critical assessment of public health’s failure to address the links between neoliberal policies/practices and health inequalities, arguing that this has led to an unjustified focus on theories which have little prospect of explaining, or catalysing action to reduce, health inequalities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth Inequalities
EditorsKatherine E. Smith, Claire Bambra, Sarah E. Hill
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780198703358
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • society
  • health
  • public health
  • Great Britain


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