Talk: “Democracy and Health”
Assoc. Prof. Simon Wigley
Department of Philosophy
Wednesday, 11 October, 12:30 p.m.
FEASS Building, A-130
Do democracies produce better health outcomes for children than autocracies? Child mortality primarily afflicts the poorest members of society. Democratic leaders often do not need the support of low-income voters in order to secure a winning majority. Thus, democratic governments may be no better than autocratic governments when it comes to reducing child mortality. In response, we argue that (1) democratic governments have a non-electoral incentive to reduce child mortality among low-income families and (2) that media freedom enhances their ability to deliver mortality-reducing resources to the poorest. A panel of 167 countries for the years 1961-2011 is used to test those two theoretical claims. We find robust evidence that level of democracy is negatively associated with under-5 mortality, and that that negative association is greater in the presence of media freedom.
Simon Wigley studied philosophy, politics and economics at Otago University in New Zealand, and completed his masters and doctoral studies at London School of Economics and Political Science. His research interests are varied, ranging from theoretical work in normative political philosophy to empirical work in comparative politics. His work has been published in a number of journals, including World Politics, Social Science & Medicine, Public Choice, Social Indicators Research, Human Rights Quarterly, Philosophical Psychology, Law and Philosophy, Journal of Value Inquiry, Politics, Philosophy & Economics, and the Journal of Political Philosophy. He is currently chair of the Department of Philosophy at Bilkent University.