The Milbank Quarterly
A Multidisciplinary Journal of Population Health and Health Policy
Volume 98, Issue 2 Pages: 223-617 June 2020
Can Social Policies Improve Health? A Systematic Review and Meta‐Analysis of 38 Randomized Trials
EMILIE COURTIN. SOOYOUNG KIM, SHANSHAN SONG, WENYA YU, PETER MUENNIG
First Published: 19 March 2020
:: Social policies might not only improve economic well‐being, but also health. Health policy experts have therefore advocated for investments in social policies both to improve population health and potentially reduce health system costs.
:: Since the 1960s, a large number of social policies have been experimentally evaluated in the United States. Some of these experiments include health outcomes, providing a unique opportunity to inform evidence‐based policymaking.
:: Our comprehensive review and meta‐analysis of these experiments find suggestive evidence of health benefits associated with investments in early life, income support, and health insurance interventions. However, most studies were underpowered to detect health outcomes.