Democracy, Dictatorship, and Infant Mortality Revisited

This article updates our earlier finding that democracies outperformed dictatorships in 1950-90 by achieving lower infant mortality rates at every level of development. Now we show that this holds even post-Cold War and after the latest wave of democratization. Using 1990-97 data, we again find that democracies outdo dictatorships, though the difference is somewhat smaller now. One key finding is relevant to policymakers: foreign direct investment and aid both significantly reduce IMRs in democracies, but not in dictatorships. Giving money to dictatorships, whether in the form of aid or investment, makes either no difference or even hurts children born there.