Monday, August 22, 2011

[EQ] Tackling health inequalities in Norway: applying linear and non-linear models in the policy-making process

Tackling health inequalities in Norway:
applying linear and non-linear models in the policy-making process

Mali Strand a & Elisabeth Fosse a

a Research Centre for Health Promotion, University of Bergen,

Bergen, Norway - 24 Jun 2011

Critical Public Health, 21:3, 373-381


“…..This article follows the Norwegian policy-making process on social inequalities in health applying models for policy development with focus on linear and non-linear movements.

The focus is process-oriented following the introduction of a comprehensive, cross-sectoral strategy to tackle socioeconomic health inequalities in Norway. A case study design was selected and two theoretical frameworks have guided the research. Whitehead's model for health inequality intervention (2007) follows a linear theory-based logic, underpinning the idea that implicit or explicit theories or formulation of a distinct problem causally predicts design and outcome of policy programmes.

The second approach is based on Kingdon's (2003) perception that policy-making often occurs unpredictably within independent streams of the policy formulation process. The model focuses on the non-linearity of the flow and timing of policy action.

The present case suggests that both linear and non-linear models are necessary for understanding of the Norwegian policy-making process on social inequalities in health. Whitehead's model is a conceptual model focussing on the linear structure of the policy process, useful for identifying the different entry points for choice of direction in policy-making. Kingdon's multiple streams model is useful for gaining insight into the agenda-setting process that may be predictable, but may also be unpredictable and steer non-linear movements.

The model identifies components necessary for a problem to rise on the political agenda with a particular focus on the role of policy entrepreneurs….”



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