Trade liberalisation and diet-related non-communicable diseases

Year of award: 2015


  • Pepita Barlow

    University of Oxford

Project summary

This research will examine the effect of trade liberalisation on diet and alcohol-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). I will assess whether liberalisation increases or decreases the consumption of unhealthy food and alcohol by changing social environments, particularly in relation to their availability, accessibility and desirability. Since unhealthy food and alcohol consumption is a key contributor to NCDs, the proposed research will indicate whether and how macro-economic policy decisions contribute to NCDs by changing consumption patterns. I will evaluate how trade liberalisation affects social disparities in NCD prevalence by analysing the socio-economic groups in which these effects are most salient. 

By conducting a series of comparative, cross-national studies in different economic and social-policy contexts, the research will assess whether government policies and income levels moderate or exacerbate the consequences of trade liberalisation on NCDs. This will provide insights for policy makers who attempt to reduce the chronic disease burden and inequalities and highlight whether the health consequences of liberalisation might be reduced by government interventions.