The economic crisis and its ethical relevance for public health in Europe – an analysis in the perspective of the capability approach

Caroline Brall, Peter Schröder-Bäck, Helmut Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Policy responses to the economic crisis have manifest consequences to European population health and health systems. The aim of this article is to assess, by using the capability approach advanced by Sen, the ethical dimension of trade-offs made in health policy due to austerity measures. From a capability approach point of view, austerity measures such as reducing resources for health care, further deregulating the health care market or moving towards privatisation are ethically challenging since they limit opportunities and capabilities for individuals of a population. Public policies should thus aim to guarantee sufficient capabilities (options to access health care and possibilities to make healthy choices) for its populations. Prioritising those in need is a notion the capability approach particularly focuses on in its goal of supporting those with the least capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalCentral European Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-03-2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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