Does democracy make taller men? Cross-country European evidence
Alberto Batinti and
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library
We study whether a democracy improves a measure of individual wellbeing: human heights. Drawing on individual-level datasets, we test the democracy and height hypothesis using a battery of eight different measures of democracy and we account for several potential confounders, regional and cohort fixed effects. We document that democracy – or its quality during early childhood – shows a strong and positive conditional correlation with male, but not female, adult stature. Our preferred estimates suggest that being born in a democracy increases average male stature from a minimum of 1.33 to a maximum of 2.4 cm. We also show a positive association when democracy increases from childhood to adolescence, and when we adopt measures of existing democratic capital before birth, and at the end of height plasticity in early adulthood. We also document that democracy is associated with a reduction in inequality of heights distribution. Our estimates are driven by period-specific heterogeneity, namely, early democratizations are associated with taller people more than later ones. Results are robust to the inclusion of countries exposed to communism.
Keywords: democracy; wellbeing; human heights; waves of democratisation; communism; Europe; survey data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 P20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 25 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-ltv and nep-pol
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Published in Economics and Human Biology, 1, April, 2022, 45. ISSN: 1570-677X
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ehl:lserod:113745
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