Challenging the Dominant Discourse: Framing and the Social Determinants of Health Equity on Trade Policy Agendas – The Case of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

The final version of the paper is available at: Critical Public Health, 20 August 2018. doi/10.1080/09581596.2018.1509059

17 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2018

See all articles by Belinda Townsend

Belinda Townsend

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet)

Ashley Schram

Faculty of Medicine, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Fran Baum

Flinders University

Ronald Labonté

University of Ottawa

Sharon Friel

Australian National University (ANU); School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet)

Date Written: January 14, 2018

Abstract

Trade agreements influence the distribution of money, goods, services and daily living conditions – the social determinants of health and health equity, which ultimately impacts differentially on health within and between countries. In order to advance health equity as a trade policy goal, greater understanding is needed of how different actors frame their interests in order to shape government priorities, thus helping to identify competing agendas across policy communities.

This paper reports on a study of how policy actors framed their interests for the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. We analysed 88 submissions made by industry actors, not for profit organisations, unions, researchers and individual citizens to the Australian government during treaty negotiations. We show that policy actors’ ideas of the purpose of trade agreements are shaped by competing underlying assumptions of the role of the state, market and society. We identify three primary framings: a dominant neoliberal market frame, and counter frames for the public interest and state sovereignty. Our analysis highlights the potential enabling and constraining impact of policy frames for health equity. In particular, the current dominant market framing largely excludes the social determinants of health and health equity. We argue that advocacy needs to tackle head on the underlying assumptions of market framings in order to open up space for the social. We identify successful examples of health framing for equity as well as opportunities for engagement with ‘non-traditional’ allies on shared issues of concern.

Keywords: social determinants of health equity, trade, Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, Health in All Policies; Healthy Public Policy

JEL Classification: I14, I15, I18, I10, F13, F18, F19

Suggested Citation

Townsend, Belinda and Schram, Ashley and Baum, Fran and Labonté, Ronald and Friel, Sharon, Challenging the Dominant Discourse: Framing and the Social Determinants of Health Equity on Trade Policy Agendas – The Case of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (January 14, 2018). The final version of the paper is available at: Critical Public Health, 20 August 2018. doi/10.1080/09581596.2018.1509059. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3259741

Belinda Townsend (Contact Author)

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Ashley Schram

Faculty of Medicine, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada ( email )

2292 Edwin Crescent
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 1H7
Canada

Fran Baum

Flinders University ( email )

GPO Box 2100
Adelaide S.A. 5001, SA 5063
Australia

Ronald Labonté

University of Ottawa ( email )

2292 Edwin Crescent
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 1H7
Canada

Sharon Friel

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet) ( email )

College of Asia and the Pacific
Coombs Extension (bldg 8)
Canberra ACT 0200
Australia

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