Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Social and economic policy reform to reduce health inequalities

An EU initiative generated new evidence on the impact and effectiveness of structural policies in reducing health inequalities. This work will advance innovative methodologies for the evaluation of these policies in Europe.
Social and economic policy reform to reduce health inequalities
The EU-funded SOPHIE (Evaluating the impact of structural policies on health inequalities and their social determinants and fostering change) project set out to provide the means for improved health. It built a knowledge base on how different policies impact health inequalities and their determinants.

Project partners analysed the impact of policies across diverse domains. These cover macroeconomics, the labour market, the built and social environment, housing, social protection, gender equity and immigrant integration. Several dimensions of health equity impacts were considered, placing emphasis on socioeconomic position and gender, age, ethnicity and, when applicable, migrant status.

Using systematic reviews, realist synthesis and evaluation, cross-country panel analysis, concept mapping and quasi-experimental studies, the SOPHIE team gathered evidence about the impact of social and economic policies on health levels throughout society and the extent to which health inequalities are affected by socioeconomic, gender and immigration factors. It also showed how policies involving equity can improve these health inequalities. This led to the development of innovative methodologies to identify and assess how structural policies influence social inequalities in health at EU, national and local levels.

Over 50 scientific articles were published and three videos were broadcast online to disseminate key outcomes.

Thanks to SOPHIE, the EC, civil society organisations, public health and social justice advocates, the scientific community and other stakeholders are better equipped to provide the evidence needed for just social and economic policies that will reduce health inequalities.

Related information


Life Sciences


Health inequalities, structural policies, SOPHIE
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