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Voting Up? The Effects of Democracy and Franchise Extension on Human Stature

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  • Alberto Batinti
  • Joan Costa‐Font
  • Timothy J. Hatton

Abstract

We study the effect of the spread of democracy on population health in 15 European countries since the middle of the 19th century, and more specifically the average height of adult males by five‐year birth cohort, and we estimate the effect of transitions to democracy using within‐country variation. We find that the advent of democracy increased average height by about 0.7 cm. When we also account for the extension of the franchise to women, this increases to 1 cm or about 9% of the total increase in height of birth cohorts from the 1870s to the 1970s. Intervening mechanisms include reduced inequality and increased expenditure on social and health services. Our results are robust to a wide range of econometric tests.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Batinti & Joan Costa‐Font & Timothy J. Hatton, 2022. "Voting Up? The Effects of Democracy and Franchise Extension on Human Stature," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(353), pages 161-190, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:89:y:2022:i:353:p:161-190
    DOI: 10.1111/ecca.12393
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    1. Adserà, Alicia & Dalla Pozza, Francesca & Guriev, Sergei & Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas & Nikolova, Elena, 2019. "Transition, height and well-being," GLO Discussion Paper Series 404, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Joan Costa-Font & Lucia Kossarova, 2019. "Transitions that Matter? Czechoslovakia’s Break up and Human Stature," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 16(24), pages 1-13, December.
    3. Adsera, Alicia & Dalla Pozza, Francesca & Guriev, Sergei & Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas & Nikolova, Elena, 2019. "Transition from Plan to Market, Height and Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 12658, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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