Do electoral institutions have an impact on population health?

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Wigley S., Akkoyunlu-Wigley A.

PUBLIC CHOICE, vol.148, pp.595-610, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 148
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11127-010-9686-6
  • Journal Name: PUBLIC CHOICE
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.595-610
  • Keywords: Electoral disproportionality, Redistributive policy, Infant mortality, Life expectancy, LATIN-AMERICA, DEMOCRACY, PROVISION, POLITICS, SYSTEMS, NUMBER, CONSTITUTIONS, DICTATORSHIP, MORTALITY, SIZE
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


There is an emerging political economics literature which purports to show that legislatures elected based on proportional electoral rules spend more and redistribute more than legislatures elected based on majoritarian electoral rules. Going a step further the authors of this paper consider whether degree of electoral proportionality has an impact on population health and, in particular, the health of the least advantaged members of society. A panel of 24 parliamentary democracies for the years 1960-2004 is used to examine the relationship between electoral institutions and health. The authors find that greater electoral proportionality is positively associated with overall population health (as indicated by life expectancy) and with the health of the poorest (as indicated by a reduction in infant mortality). A panel of 17 countries for the years 1970-2004 is then used to show to that electoral permissiveness modifies the impact of health spending on infant mortality.