Making Markets for Merit Goods: The Political Economy of Antiretrovirals

Ethan Kapstein, Joshua W. Busby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Why were AIDS activists successful in putting universal access to treatment on the international agenda when so many other global campaigns have either failed or struggled to have much impact? We focus on: (1) permissive material conditions; (2) convergence on a policy prescription; (3) attributes of the activists; and (4) the broad political support for their cause. In our view, the market for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs was politically constructed; activists had to bring the demand and supply sides of the market together through a variety of tactics and strategies. The idea that motivated the activists was that ARVs should ideally be 'merit goods', goods that are available to everyone regardless of income. But, when ARVs first came on the market, poor people in the developing world lacked the resources to buy them. Activists successfully lobbied donor nations to use foreign aid to buy ARVs, and they pressured pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices, while encouraging generic firms to enter the market. However, even where a policy enjoys favorable material conditions - i.e. low costs, large benefits, demonstrated feasibility - this may not be enough. A clear prescription, credible messengers and resonant arguments may be necessary for an issue to receive adequate political support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-90
Number of pages16
JournalGlobal Policy
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

political economy
market
political support
drug
medication
acquired immune deficiency syndrome
pharmaceutical
tactics
aid
AIDS
campaign
developing world
income
supply
firm
cause
goods
Market making
Merit goods
Political economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Making Markets for Merit Goods : The Political Economy of Antiretrovirals. / Kapstein, Ethan; Busby, Joshua W.

In: Global Policy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 01.2010, p. 75-90.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{71940527e4934aa38e84836ab4aa4cca,
title = "Making Markets for Merit Goods: The Political Economy of Antiretrovirals",
abstract = "Why were AIDS activists successful in putting universal access to treatment on the international agenda when so many other global campaigns have either failed or struggled to have much impact? We focus on: (1) permissive material conditions; (2) convergence on a policy prescription; (3) attributes of the activists; and (4) the broad political support for their cause. In our view, the market for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs was politically constructed; activists had to bring the demand and supply sides of the market together through a variety of tactics and strategies. The idea that motivated the activists was that ARVs should ideally be 'merit goods', goods that are available to everyone regardless of income. But, when ARVs first came on the market, poor people in the developing world lacked the resources to buy them. Activists successfully lobbied donor nations to use foreign aid to buy ARVs, and they pressured pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices, while encouraging generic firms to enter the market. However, even where a policy enjoys favorable material conditions - i.e. low costs, large benefits, demonstrated feasibility - this may not be enough. A clear prescription, credible messengers and resonant arguments may be necessary for an issue to receive adequate political support.",
author = "Ethan Kapstein and Busby, {Joshua W.}",
year = "2010",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1111/j.1758-5899.2009.00012.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "1",
pages = "75--90",
journal = "Global Policy",
issn = "1758-5880",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Ltd",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Making Markets for Merit Goods

T2 - The Political Economy of Antiretrovirals

AU - Kapstein, Ethan

AU - Busby, Joshua W.

PY - 2010/1

Y1 - 2010/1

N2 - Why were AIDS activists successful in putting universal access to treatment on the international agenda when so many other global campaigns have either failed or struggled to have much impact? We focus on: (1) permissive material conditions; (2) convergence on a policy prescription; (3) attributes of the activists; and (4) the broad political support for their cause. In our view, the market for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs was politically constructed; activists had to bring the demand and supply sides of the market together through a variety of tactics and strategies. The idea that motivated the activists was that ARVs should ideally be 'merit goods', goods that are available to everyone regardless of income. But, when ARVs first came on the market, poor people in the developing world lacked the resources to buy them. Activists successfully lobbied donor nations to use foreign aid to buy ARVs, and they pressured pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices, while encouraging generic firms to enter the market. However, even where a policy enjoys favorable material conditions - i.e. low costs, large benefits, demonstrated feasibility - this may not be enough. A clear prescription, credible messengers and resonant arguments may be necessary for an issue to receive adequate political support.

AB - Why were AIDS activists successful in putting universal access to treatment on the international agenda when so many other global campaigns have either failed or struggled to have much impact? We focus on: (1) permissive material conditions; (2) convergence on a policy prescription; (3) attributes of the activists; and (4) the broad political support for their cause. In our view, the market for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs was politically constructed; activists had to bring the demand and supply sides of the market together through a variety of tactics and strategies. The idea that motivated the activists was that ARVs should ideally be 'merit goods', goods that are available to everyone regardless of income. But, when ARVs first came on the market, poor people in the developing world lacked the resources to buy them. Activists successfully lobbied donor nations to use foreign aid to buy ARVs, and they pressured pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices, while encouraging generic firms to enter the market. However, even where a policy enjoys favorable material conditions - i.e. low costs, large benefits, demonstrated feasibility - this may not be enough. A clear prescription, credible messengers and resonant arguments may be necessary for an issue to receive adequate political support.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84871022237&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84871022237&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1758-5899.2009.00012.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1758-5899.2009.00012.x

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84871022237

VL - 1

SP - 75

EP - 90

JO - Global Policy

JF - Global Policy

SN - 1758-5880

IS - 1

ER -