Stitching a Patchwork Quilt: Democracy, Social Heterogeneity, and Development Outcomes
42 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2015
Date Written: November 1, 2014
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: Suggested Citation