Thanks to John Gerring, Marty Gilens, James Honaker, Phil Keefer, Marisa Kellam, Jeff Lewis, Kevin Morrison, Irfan Nooruddin, Aakanksha Pande, Dan Posner, Lant Pritchett, Duncan Thomas, Peter Timmer, Dan Treisman, James Vreeland, Jeremy Weinstein, Deborah Yashar, and two anonymous reviewers for insightful comments, ideas, and technical help; to José Cheibub, Ken Hill, Gareth Jones, Layna Mosley, Andrew Reynolds, and Jeff Sachs for sharing their data; and to Tatiana Rizova and Ani Sarkissan for research assistance. Earlier versions of this article have been presented at seminars at UCLA; the Center for Global Development; Oxford University; Stanford University; Duke University; University of California, San Diego; and Princeton University.
Is Democracy Good for the Poor?
Version of Record online: 19 SEP 2006
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 50, Issue 4, pages 860–874, October 2006
How to Cite
Ross, M. (2006), Is Democracy Good for the Poor?. American Journal of Political Science, 50: 860–874. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2006.00220.x
- Issue online: 19 SEP 2006
- Version of Record online: 19 SEP 2006
Many scholars claim that democracy improves the welfare of the poor. This article uses data on infant and child mortality to challenge this claim. Cross-national studies tend to exclude from their samples nondemocratic states that have performed well; this leads to the mistaken inference that nondemocracies have worse records than democracies. Once these and other flaws are corrected, democracy has little or no effect on infant and child mortality rates. Democracies spend more money on education and health than nondemocracies, but these benefits seem to accrue to middle- and upper-income groups.