Many researchers have found that socioeconomic factors play a crucial role in determining physiological and psychological health levels of the population. This implies that socioeconomic inequalities tend to produce health inequalities. It is also generally accepted that the level of unemployment, income inequality and poverty levels are largely affected by economic policies and the economic cycles. They can also influence economic growth, human capital levels and thus productivity which play an important role on health inequalities. Economic policies can also influence the occurrence, frequency, duration and the strength of economic cycles which in turn influence socioeconomic factors and therefore health inequalities. Thus, this short review will discuss the conduct and the effects of economic policy on health inequalities especially during recessionary periods. The paper starts with a discussion of the need and of the instruments of economic policy and also its effectiveness in smoothing the economic cycle. It also examines the interplay between main policy targets such as unemployment and inflation with political considerations. Finally, it concentrates on the effects of economic policies for health inequalities in view of economic recessions
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