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Knowing the goal: an inclusive economy that can address the public health challenges of our time
  1. Deborah Shipton1,
  2. Shifa Sarica1,
  3. Neil Craig1,
  4. Gerry McCartney1,
  5. Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi2,
  6. Graeme Roy3,
  7. Peter McGregor4,
  8. Graeme Scobie1
  1. 1 Place and Wellbeing, Public Health Scotland, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3 College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4 Fraser of Allander Institute, Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Deborah Shipton, Place and Wellbeing, Public Health Scotland, Glasgow G2 6QE, UK; deborah.shipton{at}


Objective Inequality is deeply embedded in our economic structures—it is necessary to address these economic inequalities if we are to reduce health inequalities. An inclusive economic approach was conceptualised as a way to reduce these economic inequalities, although the attributes of this approach are unclear. Public health practitioners are increasingly asked to provide a health perspective on the economic recovery plans in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper aims to identify the attributes of an inclusive economy to enable the public health profession to influence an inclusive economic recovery.

Approach We conducted a rapid review of grey and peer-reviewed literature to identify the attributes of an inclusive economy as currently defined in the literature.

Attributes of an inclusive economy Twenty-two concepts were identified from 56 reports and articles. These were collapsed into four distinct attributes of an inclusive economy: (1) an economy that is designed to deliver inclusion and equity, (2) equitable distribution of the benefits from the economy (eg, assets, power, value), (3) equitable access to the resources needed to participate in the economy (eg, health, education), and (4) the economy operates within planetary boundaries.

Conclusion As economies are (re)built following the COVID-19 pandemic, these attributes of an inclusive economy—based on the current literature—can be used to develop, and then monitor progress of, economic policy that will reduce health inequalities, improve health and mitigate against climate change.

  • economics
  • health policy
  • inequalities
  • policy
  • public health

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All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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  • Twitter @gerrymccartney1, @vkatikireddi

  • Contributors DS: conceptualisation; methodology; formal analysis; investigation; writing–original draft. SS: conceptualisation; methodology; formal analysis; investigation; writing–review and editing. GS: formal analysis. NC, GM, SVK, PM, GR: writing–review and editing.

  • Funding SVK acknowledges funding from an NRS Senior Clinical Fellowship (SCAF/15/02), the Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00022/2) and the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (SPHSU17).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.