Head of Department of Public Health - Erasmus MC
The persistence of health inequalities in modern welfare states
The over-all objective of my project is to obtain a better understanding of the persistence of health inequalities in modern welfare states, by combining insights from different scientific disciplines that are usually kept apart. I will work to achieve this objective by synthesizing published evidence and by collecting some empirical evidence, guided by the following three preliminary hypotheses: (1) inequalities between socioeconomic groups in access to material and non-material resources have not been eliminated by the welfare state, and are still substantial; (2) due to greater intergenerational mobility, the composition of lower socioeconomic groups has become more homogeneous with regard to personal characteristics associated with ill-health, such as cognitive ability; and (3) due to the increased role of consumption behavior as a determinant of ill-health, the marginal benefits of the knowledge and cultural resources to which a higher social position gives access have increased.
Johan Mackenbach is Professor of Public Health and chair of the Department of Public Health at the Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He was trained as a medical doctor, and specialised in public health and epidemiology. His research interests are in social epidemiology, medical demography and health policy. He (co-)authored more than 600 papers in international, peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as a number of books. He is also a former editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Public Health. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Academia Europaea, honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom. In March 2015 he received the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium).