Working Paper Series
Globalization and Child Health in Developing Countries: The Role of Democracy
(), Carl Hampus Lyttkens and Therese Nilsson
Abstract: Good health is crucial for human and economic development.
In particular poor health in childhood seems to be of utmost concern since
it causes irreversible damage and have implications later in life. Recent
research suggests globalization is a strong force affecting adult and child
health outcomes. Yet, there is much unexplained variation with respect to
the globalization effect on child health, in particular in low- and
middle-income countries. One factor that could explain such variation
across countries is the quality of democracy. Using panel data for 70
developing countries between 1970 and 2009 this paper disentangles the
relationship between globalization, democracy, and child health.
Specifically the paper examines how globalization and a country's
democratic status and historical experience with democracy, respectively,
affect infant mortality. In line with previous economic research, results
suggest that globalization reduces infant mortality and that the level of
democracy in a country generally improves child health outcomes. We also
find that democracy matters for the size of the globalization effect on
child health. If e.g. Côte d'Ivoire was a democracy in the 2000–2009
period, this effect would translate into 1,200 fewer infant deaths in an
average year compared to the situation without democracy.
Keywords: Globalization; Democracy; Health; Developing Countries; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: F63; F68; I15; P16; (follow links to similar papers)
44 pages, April 8, 2014
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