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Political Factors and Health Outcomes: Insight from Argentina's Provinces

James W. McGuire ()
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James W. McGuire: Department of Government at Wesleyan University

No HDRP-2010-25, Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) from Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Abstract: This paper explores whether political factors were associated with health outcomes across Argentina's 23 provinces and Federal Capital from 1983 to 2005, controlling for national trends, per capita economic output, and other provincial specificities. The introduction of a gender quota for the lower house of the provincial legislature is found to have a statistically significant and substantively strong association with lower infant mortality. Most other political factors are found to be unassociated with the health share of provincial spending, attendance at birth by trained personnel, or infant survival. This lack of association stands in contrast to the findings of the cross-national literature, in which political factors are often found to be associated with health care spending, health service utilization, and health status. Differences in level of analysis (national vs. subnational) and in statistical technique help to explain these contrasting findings. Still, the analysis suggests that relations between political factors and health outcomes may be weaker than is sometimes suggested. As Amartya Sen has noted, democratic freedoms (and other political factors) create opportunities to improve other dimensions of human development. Whether these opportunities are seized depends on the actions of citizens and governments.

Keywords: human development; democracy; mortality; health care; gender; subnational; Argentina. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O15 N46 I12 I18 J16 H51 O54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 77 pages
Date: 2010-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea, nep-lam and nep-pol
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Published as background research for the 2010 Human Development Report.

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