Winner of the FISS/Intersentia Best Paper Prize 2016: Maria Forslund, The state of dying. Mortality in a comparative perspective – The interplay between cash and care.
There is an extensive body of research on the welfare state, yet the study of health outcomes and their association with social policy is a relatively new topic, particularly in comparative research. Comparative welfare state research has mostly focused on cash benefits, and comparative studies on health and the welfare state mostly consider the organization and function of the health care systems. Thus the interplay between cash and care in areas of sickness and health is in urgent need of more research. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how cash and care combines and produce different health outcomes in affluent countries. Focus is on all cause and cause specific mortality outcomes of health care systems and sickness cash benefits. Is the health impact of health care systems mediated by the organization of sickness cash benefits? By combining OECD health data and SPIN-data on sickness cash benefits I estimate a series of fixed effects structural equations. The results indicate that there is an interplay between cash and care of relevance for mortality outcomes. The mortality reducing effect of health care is stronger in countries where sickness cash benefits are more inclusive and generous. In the paper I discuss a few tentative pathways whereby sickness cash benefits influence performance of health care systems.