Social protection, income and health inequities. Final report of the Task Group on GDP, Taxes, Income and Welfare (2016)



The following general recommendations are based on evidence from the scientific literature and the results of this novel analysis:

  1. Do something – In countries with low ambitions for social protection, some programme improvements would benefit public health and would reduce health inequalities.
  2. Do more – In countries with medium or high ambitions in terms of social protection policies, raising these ambitions further would benefit health and health inequalities.
  3. Do better – Among the most developed welfare states, investing in more social protection is probably not the only way to improve public health. However, where the redistributive and protective capacity of a welfare state has actually diminished, it would be beneficial to re-establish previous levels of social protection, both generally and, in particular, for the most vulnerable people. Growing inequalities in mortality and in income strongly suggest that how the resources already spent on social protection are used also needs to be improved. This also applies to the countries that spend less.