What role has the World Bank played in influencing health sector reform in Latin America? In her new book, Banking on Health: The World...

What role has the World Bank played in influencing health sector reform in Latin America? In her new book, Banking on Health: The World Bank and Health Sector Reform in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), Shiri Noy explores this question and more using mixed methods, including interviews, quantitative analysis, and review of policy documents and archives. The book starts off by providing readers a history of the World Bank and its role in health reform. Even though it may seem as if the World Bank would have a similar solution across countries, Noy finds that involvement and plans are more variable due to the systems already in place within these countries. Noy then moves on to an analysis of health expenditures, finding surprising results that further drove her research project and curiosity. The book then explores three countries in turn: Argentina, Peru, and Costa Rica. This book provides rich analysis of a complex social issue and set of systems, sending the reader away with both empirical and theoretical findings.

This book will be enjoyed by sociologists broadly but particularly by historical sociologists or those studying Latin America specifically. This book will be of interest to political scientists and health scholars as well. Graduate level courses in health and stratification could utilize this book not only for understanding health reform and the role of the World Bank, but also in terms of the fascinating case studies of the three countries contained here.


Sarah E. Patterson is a Sociology postdoc at the University of Western Ontario. You can tweet her at @spattersearch.

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