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Which Institutions are Good for Your Health? The Deep Determinants of Comparative Cross-country Health Status

  • P. Dorian Owen

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Otago)

  • Stephen Knowles

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Otago)

We extend the literature on the deep determinants of economic development by focusing on life expectancy, instead of income per capita, as an indicator of economic development, and by examining the role of informal, as well as formal, institutions. Our empirical results suggest that formal and informal institutions are substitutes. Improving informal institutions has positive effects on life expectancy that are statistically significant for most countries and stronger than the effects of improving formal institutions. The gains from improving informal institutions are greatest for countries in which institutions are weakest. Geographical factors also help explain cross-country variation in life expectancy.

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Paper provided by University of Otago, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0811.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision: Dec 2008
Handle: RePEc:otg:wpaper:0811
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