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Health and democracy

American Economic Association
Publication Date
  • Hn Social History And Conditions. Social Problems. Social Reform
  • Economics
  • Political Science


Timothy Besley and Masayuki Kudamatsu Health and democracy Article (Published version) (Refereed) Original citation: Besley, Timothy and Kudamatsu, Masayuki (2006) Health and democracy. American economic review, 96 (2). pp. 313-318. ISSN 0002-8282 DOI: 10.1257/000282806777212053 © 2006 American Economic Association This version available at: Available in LSE Research Online: October 2011 LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright © and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL ( of the LSE Research Online website. POLITICAL ECONOMY† Health and Democracy By TIMOTHY BESLEY AND MASAYUKI KUDAMATSU* In spite of the inexorable march of democ- racy around the globe, just how democratic in- stitutions affect human well-being is open to debate. The evidence that democracy promotes prosperity is neither strong nor robust. More- over, which aspects of policy making and hu- man well-being are promoted by democracies is still a subject of debate.1 Even if correlations between democracy and outcome measures can be found, there is an overriding difficulty of interpreting them as causal effects. Whether democracy matters, per se, or simply serves as a proxy for societal and political development presents a difficult prob- lem for research in this area. Thinkers such as Seymour Martin Lipset (1959) have argued that democracy can thrive only when conditions are right. If this is correct, then becoming demo- cratic may serve only as a proxy for these hard- to-measure cu

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