Taking on the Corporate Determinants of Ill-health and Health Inequity: A Scoping Review of Actions to Address Excessive Corporate Power to Protect and Promote the Public’s Health

Document Type : Review Article


1 Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition (GLOBE), Institute for Health Transformation, School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia

2 Centre for Health Policy, The University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia


In many sectors of the economy, for-profit business corporations hold excessive power relative to some governments and civil society. These power imbalances have been recognised as important contributors to many pressing and complex societal challenges, including unhealthy diets, climate change, and widening socio-economic inequalities, and thus pose a major barrier to efforts to improve public health and health equity. In this paper, we reviewed potential actions for addressing excessive corporate power.

We conducted a scoping review of diverse literature (using Scopus, Web of Science, HeinOnline, and EBSCO databases), along with expanded searches, to identify state and collective actions with the potential to address excessive corporate power. Actions were thematically classified into overarching strategic objectives, guided by Meagher’s ‘3Ds’ heuristic, which classifies actions to curb corporate power into three groups: dispersion, democratisation, and dissolution. Based on the actions identified, we proposed two additional strategic objectives: reform and democratise the global governance of corporations, and strengthen countervailing power structures.

We identified 178 documents that collectively cover a broad range of actions to address excessive corporate power. In total, 18 interrelated strategies were identified, along with several examples in which aspects of these strategies have been implemented.

The proposed framework sheds light on how a diverse set of strategies and actions that seek to address excessive corporate power can work synergistically to change the regulatory context in which corporations operate, so that broader societal goals, including health and equity, are given much greater prominence and consideration vis-à-vis powerful corporate interests.


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Articles in Press, Corrected Proof
Available Online from 19 August 2023
  • Receive Date: 04 April 2022
  • Revise Date: 03 August 2023
  • Accept Date: 18 August 2023
  • First Publish Date: 19 August 2023