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Is the political system really related to health?

Jeroen Klomp and Jakob de Haan ()

Social Science & Medicine, 2009, vol. 69, issue 1, 36-46

Abstract: We analyze whether the political system and its stability are related to cross-country differences in health. We apply factor analysis on various national health indicators for a large sample of countries over the period 2000-2005 and use the outcomes of the factor analysis to construct two new health measures, i.e., the health of individuals and the quality of the health care sector. Using a cross-country structural equation model with various economic and demographic control variables, we examine the relationship between the type of regime and political stability on the one hand and health on the other. The political variables and the control variables are measured as averages over the period 1980-1999. Our results suggest that democracy has a positive relationship with the health of individuals, while regime instability has a negative relationship with the health of individuals. Government instability is negatively related to individual health via its link with the quality of the health care sector, while democracy is positively related with individual health through its link with income. Our main findings are confirmed by the results of a panel model and various sensitivity tests.

Keywords: Health; Political; regime; Factor; analysis; Structural; equation; model; Cross-country; differences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:69:y:2009:i:1:p:36-46