Financialisation in health care: An analysis of private equity fund investments in Turkey


SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE, vol.187, pp.276-286, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 187
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.06.008
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.276-286
  • Keywords: Turkey, Financialisation, Neoliberalism, Marketisation, Health care, Private equity funds, Private hospitals, SYSTEM
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The 2007-2008 global financial crisis revived interest in the impacts of financial markets and actors on our social and economic life. Nevertheless, research on health care financialisation remains scant. This article presents findings from research on one modality of financial investments in health care: global private equity funds' investments in private hospitals. Adopting a political economy approach, it analyses the drivers and impacts of the upsurge of global private equity investments in the Turkish private hospital sector amid the global financial crisis. The analysis derives from review of research and archival literature, as well as six in-depth interviews held with owners/executive board directors/general managers of the largest private hospital chains in Turkey and the general partners of their PE investors. The interviewing process took place between January and November 2016. All interviews were conducted by the author in Istanbul. The findings point to a mutually reinforcing relationship between neoliberal policies and financialisation processes in health care. The article shows that neoliberal healthcare reforms, introduced under consecutive Justice and Development Party (JDP) governments in Turkey, have been important precursors of private equity investments in healthcare services. These private equity investments, in turn, intensified and broadened the process of marketisation in health care services. Four impacts are identified, through which private equity investments hasten the marketisation of health care services. These relate to the impacts of private equity investments on a) advancing the process of chain formation by large hospital groups, b) spreading financial imperatives into the operations of private hospitals c) fostering internationalisation of capital, and d) augmenting inequities in access to health care services and standards. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.