RC25 Panels at IPSA’s 22nd World Congress of Political Science

Madrid, Spain (8-12 July 2012)


Comparative Health Policy: Foundations, Foibles and Futures

Chair:               James Björkman (The Netherlands)

Discussant:       Christa Altenstetter (USA)


Synopsis: Comparison is a method rather than substance per se so every topic in health policy can be subsumed within the rubric of comparative enquiry. Comparison examines similarities and differences in the objects or subjects being investigated. When the latter have few or no differences among them, they are expected to act in a predictable way. When things differ greatly, then their behavior cannot be predicted because each set of objects or subjects is unique and incapable of generalization. Comparison is “a discovery of those relations, either constant or inconstant, which two or more objects bear to each other” (David Hume 1985:121). For a quarter-century IPSA’s Research Committee 25 has engaged in comparative analyses of health policies, yet there is a substantial gap between promise and performance. Unwarranted inferences, rhetorical distortion, and caricatures often appear in comparative health policy scholarship and debates. The purpose of this panel is to explore methodological questions raised by these weaknesses in international comparisons of health policy.


Ø      The Promises and Pitfalls of Comparative Policy Studies in Health Care, Theodore Marmor (United States)

Ø      Critique of Basic Universalism: Guidelines for Comparative Research between Chile and Argentina, Paula Ferro Ariella (Argentina)

Ø      Abortion in Western European Health Systems, Deborah McFarlane (United States)

Ø      Federalism and Social Justice in Health Financing and Provision in Brazil, Nilson Costa (Brazil)

Ø      ‘Consumer-driven Health Care’ in Switzerland and The Netherlands: Much Discussed but Much Misunderstood, Kieke Okma (United States)

Ø       ‘Marketization’ of Public Health Services? Comparing PublicHospital Service Policies in Germany and France, Renate Reiter (Germany)



Patient Empowerment and Democratic Policy: Political Challenges and Theoretical Issues (co-sponsored with RC32 on Comparative Public Policy and the Public Policy Group of the Belgian Political Science Association)


Chair:               Fabrizio Cantelli (Belgium)

Co-chair:          James Björkman (The Netherlands)

Discussant:       Naonori Kodate (United Kingdom)


Synopsis: There is an inherent tension between the democratic value of equality and the evidence of inequality in practice – for example, in the workplace and the family. The late 20th century has seen significant mobilization of state authority to redress some of this inequality, but medical treatment remains a problematic area because the doctor/ patient relationship is inherently unequal – even if a patient hires the services of a doctor. Hospital patients are regarded as having little knowledge of their needs and even less capacity to determine what will happen to them. This situation is being challenged by paradigm shifts in health care. One is the spread of discourses of participation and empowerment in governing. Another is the rationalization of medical care, the codification of what was formerly the personal exercise of professional skills, involving changes in the power relations within the hospital. There is also increasing stress on health as the management of the self rather than the professional provision of curative services, as well as recognition that long-term conditions like diabetes require a care regime with the active involvement (not just compliance) of the patient and his/her support team.


Ø      Broadening the Patient Safety Discourse: Theorizing Patient and Public Involvement as Empowerment, Josephine Ocloo (United Kingdom)

Ø      Empowerment through Choice? How a Social Movement Challenging Professional Dominance Embraced Market-type Mechanisms to Achieve Collective Empowerment, Timothy Tenbensel (New Zealand)

Ø      Is Empowerment Possible in Professional Practice? Per-Anders Tengland (Sweden)

Ø      Patient Empowerment in the US Health Sector, Pauline Rosenau, Christina Daw and David Buck (United States)

Ø      Perceived Ethnicity: Reversing the Patient-Provider Relationship, Dorothée Prud’homme (France)

Ø      Towards a Politics of Vitality: New Ways to Understand Patients’ Activism, Jorge Castillo Sepúlveda, Patricia Núñez and Francisco Tirado (Spain)


Policy Analysis, Health Politics and Policy Change: Values, Ideas and Policies

Chair:               Theodore Marmor (United States)

Discussant:       Shelby Hockenberry (United States)


Synopsis: Policy analysis focuses on how public policies are ‘informed’ and how the information process impacts on policy content. Policy analysis therefore comprehends a wide range of studies, including the impact of academic research and other kinds of knowledge and information produced by different actors, in different conditions, in governmental as well as non-governmental sectors, many of them searching to influence the policy process. This influence may range from political and technical arguments added to policy debates to the provision of information to be used by policymakers in their decisions.


Ø      Reforms and New Public Management in the French Health Care System, Monika Steffen (France)

Ø      Co-evolution of Public Health and Health Care, Philipp Trein (Switzerland)

Ø      Cross-border Perceptions of US and Canadian Health Care Systems, François Petry (Canada)

Ø      Divided and Universal: Gradual Changes in Japanese Health Insurance, Ryozo Matsuda (Japan)

Ø      Pay for Performance: Physicians’ Involvement in P4P System Design, Christiaan Lako (The Netherlands)

Ø      Politics and Policy Analysis: The Field of ‘Collective Health’ in Brazil, Jeni Vaitsman (Brazil)


Policy Analysis, Health Politics and Policy Change: Arguments, Evidence and Policies

Chair:               Monika Steffen (France)

Co-chair:          Jeni Vaitsman (Brazil)

Discussants:      Iris Geva-May (Canada); Lenaura Lobato (Brazil)


Synopsis: This panel aims at introducing policy analysis in the health policy field. It will address the capacity of different actors or organizations such as academics, social movements, advocacy groups, governmental or non-governmental organizations, etc, to influence health policy processes by the production of basic, relevant or strategic information. Papers approach different aspects of this theme: the political, institutional, normative and cultural constraints on health policy analysis under which different actors and agencies operate when producing policy-oriented information as well as their impact and effects on policies and policy change; the social and political constraints framing health policy analysis in different national contexts; the specific conditions that promote or hinder the transfer of knowledge towards policies and decision-making in the health field.


Ø      Coalition of Policy Change in Health Care and Public Health, Dorte Hering (Switzerland)

Ø      Constructing Knowledge on Hospital Activity in France: A Co-production of State and Academia, Renaud Gay (France)

Ø      Health Policy and Health Reform in Russia: Problem-solving or Problem-making? Tatiana Chubarova (Russia)

Ø      Hygiene Inspection Disclosure System as an Instrument to Improve Public Health, Anne Lévy (

Ø      Introducing Economic and Managerial Knowledge within Health Policy Instruments: France, England and Germany, Magali Robelet (France)

Ø      The Role of Evidence in HIV Policy in Switzerland: A Success Story? Kathrin Frey (Switzerland)


The Changing Architecture of Global Health Governance

Chair:               Pieter Fourie (South Africa)

Co-chair:          Pauline Rosenau (United States)

Discussant:       Kieke Okma (United States)


Synopsis: The pendulum of global health governance is swinging rapidly. In the realm of ideas, the move rom the post-World War II biomedical governance model to the socio-behavioral model seemed to conclude with the 1972 Alma Ata Declaration. However, medical triumphalism is making a dramatic comeback. During the past decade, global health governance has come to refer to mechanisms of surveillance in terms of the post-9/11 securitization fad as well as the institutions established transnationally. The Paris Declaration (2005) framework on global development aid was intended to create a global health governance architecture that would be democratic, consultative and in tune with the health governance realities of developing countries. However, this aspiration has derailed as donors in the global north shift their priorities. Even funding and governance architecture for the AIDS pandemic (the ‘donor darling’ of recent years) has become unattractive. Given the flux in global health governance, this panel features papers that address, describe and explain tensions that shape and determine governance modalities.


Ø      Global Health Governance and the African Postcolonial State, Ricardo Pereira (Portugal)

Ø      Global Health Régimes in Promoting Policy Transfer: The Role of the WHO and Private Actors in the Diffusion of e-Health Policies, Achim Lang (Germany)

Ø      Regulatory Policy of Medical Technology: Demystifying the Role of the FDA, 1976-2011, Christa Altenstetter (United States)

Ø      The Emergence of Surge Capacities in Pandemics: A Comparative Epidemic Policy Analysis from SARS to H1N1 in Taiwan and Singapore, Allen Lai (Singapore)

Ø      The Impact of Economic Uncertainty and Grant Mismanagement on the Role of Public-Private Partnerships in Addressing Global Health Policy: The Global Fund in Times of Change, Shelby Hockenberry (United States)

Ø      The Politics of Pre-empting Poor Pharmaceutical Patents: Brazil, India and Beyond, Kenneth Shadlen (United Kingdom)