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Has Democracy Reduced Inequalities in Child Mortality? An analysis of 5 million births from 50 developing countries since 1970.

  • Author(s): Ramos, Antonio Pedro
  • Advisor(s): Handcock, Mark
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation is the first large scale analysis of the effects of democratization on the rich- poor gap in child mortality across the developing world. Theories predict that democratic institutions should help those at the bottom of the income distribution more than those at the top. Yet, previous cross-national studies on democracy and child mortality have not focused on the rich-poor gap in health outcomes. Using an unique data set with more than 5 million birth records from 50 middle and low income countries, this study is the first one to test whether those at the bottom of the income distribution benefit more from the democratic transitions than those at the top. Although the rich and poor gap in child mortality is reducing over time, this change does not seem to be driven by regime type. Yet, there is remarkable heterogeneity on the effects of democratization on health that deserves further investigation.

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