Interaction Effects between Government Partisanship and Labour Market Policies on Health Among 20 OECD Countries
The major theoretical thrust of the study is that health is unevenly distributed as a result of power relations. We hypothesized that with the larger leftist share of seats in parliament, the negative consequences for population health of the flexibility labour market policies will be buffered and the beneficial consequences of the security policies will be strengthened.
Using panel data of 20 OECD countries for the period of 1998-2010, we conduct OLS regressions with panel-corrected standard error. Two models are built to examine the relationship. In model 1, security labour market policy score, flexibility labour market policy score, and leftist share of seats are regressed on health outcomes. In model 2, interaction terms, security with leftist share of seats and flexibility with leftist share of seats, are added to model 1.
Hypotheses are partially confirmed. First, the security labour market policy score is positively correlated with population health, but the effect disappeared when the interaction terms are added. Second, the flexibility labour market policy score is negatively correlated with worse population health. Third, interaction between flexibility and leftist partisanship predicts lower infant mortality rate. But it results in higher suicide rate among young adult while the size of the effect reduces.
Through this research, we provide empirical evidences that the leftist partisanship buffers the negative consequences for population health of the flexibility labour market policies. This study is the first to empirically understand the interaction effects between flexicurity labour market policies and the government partisanship on population health. Politics still matter for population health. More egalitarian governments and their equitable policies will save infant and young adult.