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Democratization and Human Development

26 June 2017
San Francesco - Via della Quarquonia 1 (Classroom 2 )
Comparativists have long debated whether democracy advances human development. Recent studies suggest that the stock of democracy is more important than the current level of democracy to predict infant mortality rates, an often-used measure of human welfare. The "stock" argument, however, does not explore whether a democratic regime change at a point in time affects people's welfare thereafter. Moreover, the extant cross- national work encounters three problems in panel regression analysis: They do not correct for historical trends in infant mortality and the number of democracies, employ country-fixed effects on data with a short time-horizon mostly starting from 1960, and do not deal with possible endogeneity between democracy and human development. Using a newly collected panel data of infant mortality covering from 1800 to 2015, we revisit this debate. Applying the Error Correction Models (ECM) with Instrumental Variables (IV) estimation, we find that democratization has only a long-run effect on reducing infant mortality.
Higashijima, Masaaki