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Does democracy make taller men? Cross-country European evidence

Batinti, Alberto and Costa-Font, Joan ORCID: 0000-0001-7174-7919 (2022) Does democracy make taller men? Cross-country European evidence. Economics and Human Biology, 45. ISSN 1570-677X

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ehb.2022.101117

Abstract

We study whether a democracy improves a measure of individual wellbeing: human heights. Drawing on individual-level datasets, we test the democracy and height hypothesis using a battery of eight different measures of democracy and we account for several potential confounders, regional and cohort fixed effects. We document that democracy – or its quality during early childhood – shows a strong and positive conditional correlation with male, but not female, adult stature. Our preferred estimates suggest that being born in a democracy increases average male stature from a minimum of 1.33 to a maximum of 2.4 cm. We also show a positive association when democracy increases from childhood to adolescence, and when we adopt measures of existing democratic capital before birth, and at the end of height plasticity in early adulthood. We also document that democracy is associated with a reduction in inequality of heights distribution. Our estimates are driven by period-specific heterogeneity, namely, early democratizations are associated with taller people more than later ones. Results are robust to the inclusion of countries exposed to communism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/economics-and-hu...
Additional Information: © 2022 Elsevier B.V.
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
P - Economic Systems > P2 - Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies > P20 - General
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2022 10:36
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2022 09:12
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/113745

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