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Social Welfare and Public Health

Analysing quasi-natural experiments from  the 2007 recession

Funding body: Welcome Trust
Grant Holder: David Stuckler
Project Duration: 2017-2021

Project Description: The project uses natural experiments to understand how social protection programmes can help protect people during hard times. Does investing in social protection improve public health? It is well-known that health is powerfully affected by factors outside the healthcare systems. But which social protection programmes if any have a significant effect? At a time of fiscal retrenchment in Europe it is particularly important to learn how social protections programmes can help protect people during hard times. Thus our project seeks to understand: how do social protection programmes affect public health? Which specific investments are the most effective and how do they work? To shed light on these questions we will take advantage of what are commonly referred to as 'natural experiments'. These experiments arise from policy variations that occur across geographic space over time or based on differing eligibility. Recently these experiments include austerity and stimulus packages in Europe. Our analysis help to understand the full human costs of economic policies as well as whether and how social protection can play a role in averting harm.