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

Author

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  • Batinti, Alberto

    (Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University)

  • Costa-Font, Joan

    (London School of Economics)

  • Hatton, Timothy J.

    (University of Essex)

Abstract

We study the health effects of the spread of democratic institutions and the extension of voting rights in 15 European countries since the middle of the nineteenth century. We employ both cross country and cohort variation in heights and employ a new instrument for democracy and the extension of the franchise, the effect of decolonisation on democracy in the colonising country's democratisation to identify the causal effect of democracy on heights. We find robust evidence of a link between democratic quality and human stature. The results indicate that the transition to democracy increased average male heights by 0.7 to 1 cm, equivalent to a one-decade average increase in stature across cohorts. Including the extension of the franchise to women increases the effect on average stature to about 1.7cm. The effect is driven by both political participation and contestation in reducing inequality and expanding health insurance coverage.

Suggested Citation

  • Batinti, Alberto & Costa-Font, Joan & Hatton, Timothy J., 2019. "Voting Up? The Effects of Democracy and Franchise Extension on Human Stature," IZA Discussion Papers 12389, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12389
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    Cited by:

    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. 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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    Keywords

    voting rights expansions; transition; democracy; height; franchise;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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