Voting Up? The Effects of Democracy and Franchise Extension on Human Stature

84 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2019 Last revised: 23 Jul 2019

See all articles by Alberto Batinti

Alberto Batinti

Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU) - International Business School Suzhou

Joan Costa-Font

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Timothy J. Hatton

University of Essex - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

We study the health effects of the spread of democratic institutions and the extension of voting rights in 15 European countries since the middle of the nineteenth century. We employ both cross country and cohort variation in heights and employ a new instrument for democracy and the extension of the franchise, the effect of decolonisation on democracy in the colonising country’s democratisation to identify the causal effect of democracy on heights. We find robust evidence of a link between democratic quality and human stature. The results indicate that the transition to democracy increased average male heights by 0.7 to 1 cm, equivalent to a one-decade average increase in stature across cohorts. Including the extension of the franchise to women increases the effect on average stature to about 1.7cm. The effect is driven by both political participation and contestation in reducing inequality and expanding health insurance coverage.

Keywords: height, democracy, transition, voting rights expansions, franchise

JEL Classification: H100, I100, J100

Suggested Citation

Batinti, Alberto and Costa-Font, Joan and Hatton, Timothy J., Voting Up? The Effects of Democracy and Franchise Extension on Human Stature (2019). CESifo Working Paper No. 7701. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3418021

Alberto Batinti (Contact Author)

Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU) - International Business School Suzhou ( email )

111 Ren’ai Road,
Suzhou Lake Higher Education Town,
Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123
China

Joan Costa-Font

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://joancostaifont.org/

Timothy J. Hatton

University of Essex - Department of Economics ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
+44 1206 872182 (Phone)
+44 1206 872724 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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