Stitching a Patchwork Quilt: Democracy, Social Heterogeneity, and Development Outcomes

42 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2015

See all articles by Jonathan K. Hanson

Jonathan K. Hanson

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Date Written: November 1, 2014

Abstract

This article investigates the manner in which the characteristics of selection institutions interact with country social context to affect development outcomes. Previous work has established that higher levels of social heterogeneity are associated with lower levels of public goods provision (Easterly and Levine, 1997; Alesina et al., 1999). Democracy tends to ameliorate these negative effects (Collier, 2000). Since democracy is a multidimensional concept, however, identifying which characteristics of democracy produce better development outcomes in diverse social contexts is important. Building upon models of probabilistic voting, this paper considers two such dimensions: contestation and inclusiveness (Dahl, 1971; Coppedge et al., 2008). Empirical tests using a time-series-cross-sectional dataset covering 146 countries indicate that political contestation matters more than inclusiveness for reducing rates of infant mortality in countries with high levels of social heterogeneity. Conversely, where levels of social heterogeneity are low, greater inclusiveness appears to reduce infant mortality.

Keywords: democracy, public services, ethnic diversity, development, infant mortality, social heterogeneity

JEL Classification: C72, D72, H41, H51

Suggested Citation

Hanson, Jonathan K., Stitching a Patchwork Quilt: Democracy, Social Heterogeneity, and Development Outcomes (November 1, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2640642 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2640642

Jonathan K. Hanson (Contact Author)

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan ( email )

735 South State Street, Weill Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jonathan-hanson.net

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