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Does exposure to democracy decrease health inequality?

Costa-Font, Joan ORCID: 0000-0001-7174-7919 and Kunst, Niklas (2023) Does exposure to democracy decrease health inequality? Journal of Public Policy, 43 (4). 741 - 760. ISSN 0143-814X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0143814X23000211


Exposure to (a liberal) democracy can have an impact on both the political attention and visibility of the needs of marginalized populations, as well as the design of health policies that can influence the distribution of population health. This paper investigates the effect of exposure to democracy, that is, the number of years spent in a democracy as measured by democracy indexes, on various measures of inequality in self-reported health across European countries. We use an instrumental variable strategy to leverage the potential endogeneity of a country's exposure to democracy, drawing on both bivariate (socioeconomic) and univariate health inequality measures. Our estimates provide evidence that an additional year in a democracy reduces both bivariate (income-related) health inequality and overall (univariate) health inequality. Our preferred specification suggests a two-point rank reduction in inequality with an additional year under a democracy. The effect is mainly driven by a reduction of "health poverty"alongside other effects.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
J Political Science
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2023 13:54
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 18:57

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