The Impact of Devolution on Experienced Health and Well-being

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Devolution of health systems from national to local levels is a common focus of policymakers across the world. The overarching aim is to improve population health by better meeting the specific needs of local citizens. We examine the case of a coordinated devolution across several public service sectors in Greater Manchester, England, in 2016. We estimate the impact on experienced health and well-being using Short-Form 12 scores from 13,938 adult respondents to the UK Household Longitudinal Survey between 2012 to 2020. We use difference-in-differences and lagged-dependent variable regressions to compare Greater Manchester to the rest of England. We find no statistically significant changes in experienced health and well-being over the four-years following the start of devolution. Our findings suggest that devolving population health management alone without budgetary powers and local accountability mechanisms may not be effective in improving experienced health and well-being in the relatively short-term.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Aug 2023


  • Devolution
  • England
  • Health and well-being
  • Short-form 12
  • Difference-in-differences
  • Lagged-dependent variable


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