Document Type : Commentary
Health Management and Policy, Global Public Health, and Political Science, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Brussels, Belgium
Powell and Mannion’s review of reviews maps the landscape of health policy research, showing a number of problematic and longstanding features. This commentary focuses on the extent to which health parochialism is good for the scientific development of the literature, the extent to which a “tournament of theories” actually develops our understanding of health policy process, and, finally, whether circumscribed theories of the policy process might be missing some of the most important and useful findings of broader comparative politics, which focus on the ways policies create politics over time. It concludes that health parochialism and focus on a circumscribed policy process is not likely to be helpful because it distracts attention from the ways in which coalitions and institutions over time shape politics and policy, a finding explored by scholars of many sectors whose findings should influence health policy research.