The impact of democracy and media freedom on under-5 mortality, 1961–2011

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2020-10-01
Date
2017
Authors
Wigley, S.
Akkoyunlu-Wigley, A.
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Source Title
Social Science and Medicine
Print ISSN
0277-9536
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Publisher
Elsevier Ltd
Volume
190
Issue
Pages
237 - 246
Language
English
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Abstract

Do democracies produce better health outcomes for children than autocracies? We argue that (1) democratic governments have an incentive to reduce child mortality among low-income families and (2) that media freedom enhances their ability to deliver mortality-reducing resources to the poorest. A panel of 167 countries for the years 1961–2011 is used to test those two theoretical claims. We find that level of democracy is negatively associated with under-5 mortality, and that that negative association is greater in the presence of media freedom. These results are robust to the inclusion of country and year fixed effects, time-varying control variables, and the multiple imputation of missing values.

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