The impact of democracy and media freedom on under-5 mortality, 1961-2011

Wigley S., Akkoyunlu-Wigley A.

SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE, vol.190, pp.237-246, 2017 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 190
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.08.023
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.237-246
  • Keywords: Democracy, Media freedom, Under-5 mortality, Panel data analysis, Country fixed effects, CROSS-NATIONAL ANALYSIS, REGIME TYPE, HEALTH, POOR, DICTATORSHIP, GOVERNMENT, PROVISION


Do democracies produce better health outcomes for children than autocracies? We argue that (1) democratic governments have an incentive to reduce child mortality among low-income families and (2) that media freedom enhances their ability to deliver mortality-reducing resources to the poorest. A panel of 167 countries for the years 1961-2011 is used to test those two theoretical claims. We find that level of democracy is negatively associated with under-5 mortality, and that that negative association is greater in the presence of media freedom. These results are robust to the inclusion of country and year fixed effects, time-varying control variables, and the multiple imputation of missing values. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.