Title of paper

The World Bank’s Approach to Market Policy in Health Care in Africa

Presenter's country

Ethiopia

Start Date

28-5-2016 9:30 AM

End Date

28-5-2016 10:30 AM

Location

Hall I

Submission type

Presentation

Abstract

The World Bank is now strongly engaged in the organization of the market for health care in Africa, after more than thirty years of neoliberal economic policy reforms in the continent. Between 2010 and 2015 a series of country Private Health Assessments were carried out throughout Sub-Saharan Africa with the aim to promote the private health sector in the region. Coincidently, this initiative took place in a time when the orthodox neoliberal assumptions were successfully theoretically challenged by neo-institutionalist economic and sociological theories of economic processes. One of the contributions of the sociology of science has been to demonstrate the performativity of economic theory in particular, meaning that successful economic theory tends to result in adjustment in economic policy-making. Based on a thematic analysis of the World Bank’s private policies, this qualitative research investigates the extent to which the crisis of the orthodox neoliberal theory is reflected in the Bank’s recently initiated private health care policy strategies in 39 Sub-Saharan Africa. It is argued that the Bank’s strong control over public policy-making in Africa has made its paradigmatic adjustment unnecessary, with the risk of exposing African countries health systems to the consequences of the market failures. The paper has three sections. The first evaluates the assessment studies of the Bank. Then it assesses the policy measures derived from these studies. Third it discusses assessments findings and policy measures (or recommendation) in the light of current neo-institutionalist and sociological economic theories.

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May 28th, 9:30 AM May 28th, 10:30 AM

The World Bank’s Approach to Market Policy in Health Care in Africa

Hall I

The World Bank is now strongly engaged in the organization of the market for health care in Africa, after more than thirty years of neoliberal economic policy reforms in the continent. Between 2010 and 2015 a series of country Private Health Assessments were carried out throughout Sub-Saharan Africa with the aim to promote the private health sector in the region. Coincidently, this initiative took place in a time when the orthodox neoliberal assumptions were successfully theoretically challenged by neo-institutionalist economic and sociological theories of economic processes. One of the contributions of the sociology of science has been to demonstrate the performativity of economic theory in particular, meaning that successful economic theory tends to result in adjustment in economic policy-making. Based on a thematic analysis of the World Bank’s private policies, this qualitative research investigates the extent to which the crisis of the orthodox neoliberal theory is reflected in the Bank’s recently initiated private health care policy strategies in 39 Sub-Saharan Africa. It is argued that the Bank’s strong control over public policy-making in Africa has made its paradigmatic adjustment unnecessary, with the risk of exposing African countries health systems to the consequences of the market failures. The paper has three sections. The first evaluates the assessment studies of the Bank. Then it assesses the policy measures derived from these studies. Third it discusses assessments findings and policy measures (or recommendation) in the light of current neo-institutionalist and sociological economic theories.