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

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  • P. Dorian Owen

    (Department of Economics, University of Otago)

  • Stephen Knowles

    (Department of Economics, University of Otago)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • P. Dorian Owen & Stephen Knowles, 2008. "Which Institutions are Good for Your Health? The Deep Determinants of Comparative Cross-country Health Status," Working Papers 0811, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:otg:wpaper:0811
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life expectancy; health; deep determinants; institutions; social capital; geography;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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