Democracy not good at helping poor people

October 19, 2006

A group of U.S. political scientists has concluded democracy may not be more beneficial to the poor than other political systems, contrary to prior findings.

The researchers examined mortality rates of children in 169 nations between 1970 and 2000, and found the global condition of the poor, measured by mortality rates, improved dramatically. However, the researchers found improvements in democratic states were about the same as improvements in non-democratic states.

"Most cross-national studies overlook non-democratic states with good economic and social records, which creates the false impression that democracies have outperformed non-democracies," said Michael Ross, an associate professor of political science at UCLA. "Once these and other flaws are corrected, (the studies show) democracy has little or no effect on child mortality rates."

Ross and his colleagues believe that while democracies generally spend more money on education and health, the improvements seem to benefit middle and upper-income groups, and do not translate to improvements for the poorer-class.

The research appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Political Science.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: How food affects political regimes

Related Stories

How food affects political regimes

October 26, 2016

Apparently, a richer diet is associated with an increase in the middle class, which tends towards economic and political independence and democracy-fostering values, according to Andrey Shcherbak, senior research fellow at ...

National education reformers target local school boards

September 7, 2016

Local school board elections increasingly are becoming a national political battleground, as millions of dollars in campaign cash pours in from out-of-state donors in the name of education reform, indicates new research led ...

Americans moderate views in deliberative democracy experiment

December 3, 2010

( -- Liberal and conservative citizens weighing options for reducing the national debt moderated their views as a result of deliberation in the largest experiment in deliberative democracy ever. They also made ...

Recommended for you

Ancient parrot fossil found in Siberia

October 26, 2016

(—A Russian paleontologist has discovered a parrot fossil uncovered in Siberia several years ago—the first evidence of parrots living in Asia. In his paper published in Biology Letters, Nikita Zelenkov describes ...

Ancient burials suggestive of blood feuds

October 24, 2016

There is significant variation in how different cultures over time have dealt with the dead. Yet, at a very basic level, funerals in the Sonoran Desert thousands of years ago were similar to what they are today. Bodies of ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.