Theoretical models are a way of visualizing, in context, the many factors that contribute to inequalities in health. This article presents a model showing the micro-level pathways relating employment and working conditions to health inequalities. A first important (indirect) pathway runs through the unequal distribution of harmful working conditions. Both employment and working conditions tend to be unequally distributed along the same social axes: social class, gender, ethnicity/race, immigration/migration status, territory, and so forth. Underlying mechanisms are exploitation, domination, and discrimination. Material deprivation and economic inequalities constitute a second direct pathway linking (nonstandard) employment conditions to health inequalities. In a third pathway, employment conditions may have an important effect on health inequalities via several psychosocial, behavioral, and physiopathological pathways. Although these several pathways are separated for analytical purposes, they are largely intertwined and, ideally, should be studied in an integrated way. The theoretical model presented in this article serves three main purposes: providing analytical clarity for organizing scientific data, encouraging further observation and causal testing, and identifying policy entry points.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy