Globalization and Child Health in Developing Countries: The Role of Democracy

45 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2014

See all articles by Anna Welander

Anna Welander

Lund University - Department of Economics

Carl Hampus Lyttkens

Independent

Therese Nilsson

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Lund University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 8, 2014

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

JEL Classification: F63, F68, I15, P16

Suggested Citation

Welander, Anna and Lyttkens, Carl Hampus and Nilsson, Therese, Globalization and Child Health in Developing Countries: The Role of Democracy (April 8, 2014). IFN Working Paper No. 1016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2469041 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2469041

Anna Welander

Lund University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7082
S-220 07 Lund
Sweden

Carl Hampus Lyttkens

Independent ( email )

Therese Nilsson (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Lund University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7082
S-220 07 Lund
Sweden
+46 46 222 46 43 (Phone)

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