HAS DEMOCRATIZATION REDUCED INFANT MORTALITY IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA? EVIDENCE FROM MICRO DATA

Authors


  • The editor in charge of this paper was Stefano DellaVigna

  • Acknowledgments: The previous version of this paper was awarded the 9th Moriguchi Prize by the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Osaka University. I thank Maitreesh Ghatak, Tim Besley, Robin Burgess, and Oriana Bandiera for numerous comments and encouragements at various stages of this research project. I am also grateful to the editor, anonymous referees, Wiji Arulampalam, Iwan Barankay, Aimee Chin, Stefan Dercon, Esther Duflo, Ray Fisman, Nicola Gennaioli, Hiro Ishise, Hisaki Kono, Rocco Macchiavello, Ted Miguel, Rohini Pande, Torsten Persson, Steve Pischke, Emilia Simeonova, and seminar and conference participants at Warwick, IDE-JETRO, Pompeu Fabra, SITE at Stockholm School of Economics, IIES at Stockholm University, ISER at Osaka University, University of Hong Kong, the 4th Development Economics PhD Seminar (Namur), CSAE Conference 2007 (Oxford), and Royal Economic Society Conference 2007 (Warwick) for helpful suggestions and discussions. Sylvia Meek kindly guided me through the public health literature. Christina Lönnblad provided me with editorial assistance. Financial support from the ERC and Handelsbanken’s Research Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.

E-mail: masayuki.kudamatsu@iies.su.se

Abstract

Does democracy help babies survive in sub-Saharan Africa? By using retrospective fertility surveys conducted in 28 African countries, I compare the survival of infants born to the same mother before and after democratization to disentangle the effect of democracy from that of changes in population characteristics, which is infeasible with country-level statistics on infant mortality. I find that infant mortality falls by 1.2 percentage points, 12% of the sample mean, after democratization in the post-Cold War period. Relevant aspects of democracy appear to be the combination of multiparty elections and leadership change.

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