Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 542635
Title Comparative institutional analysis for public health: governing voluntary collaborative agreements for public health in England and the Netherlands
Author(s) Bekker, Marleen; Mays, N.; Helderman, J.K.; Petticrew, M.; Jansen, M.W.J.; Knai, C.; Ruwaard, D.
Source European Journal of Public Health 28 (2018)suppl. 3. - ISSN 1101-1262 - p. 19 - 25.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cky158
Department(s) Health and Society
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Abstract Democratic institutions and state-society relations shape governance arrangements and expectations between public and private stakeholders about public health impact. We illustrate this with a comparison between the English Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD) and the Dutch ‘All About Health…’ (AaH) programme. As manifestations of a Whole-of-Society approach, in which governments, civil society and business take responsibility for the co-production of economic utility and good health, these programmes are two recent collaborative platforms based on voluntary agreements to improve public health. Using a ‘most similar cases’ design, we conducted a comparative secondary analysis of data from the evaluations of the two programmes. The underlying rationale of both programmes was that voluntary agreements would be better suited than regulation to encourage business and civil society to take more responsibility for improving health. Differences between the two included: expectations of an enforcing versus facilitative role for government; hierarchical versus horizontal coordination; big business versus civil society participants; top-down versus bottom-up formulation of voluntary pledges and progress monitoring for accountability versus for learning and adaptation. Despite the attempt in both programmes to base voluntary commitments on trust, the English ‘shadow of hierarchy’ and adversarial state-society relationships conditioned non-governmental parties to see the pledges as controlling, quasi-contractual agreements that were only partially lived up to. The Dutch consensual political tradition enabled a civil society-based understanding and gradual acceptance of the pledges as the internalization by partner organizations of public health values within their operations. We conclude that there are institutional limitations to the implementation of generic trust-building and learning-based models of change ‘Whole-of-Society’ approaches.
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