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TDPE presents: Jonathan Hanson

426 Eggers Hall

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Stitching a Patchwork Quilt: Selection Institutions, Social Heterogeneity, and Development Outcomes This discussion investigates the manner in which the characteristics of selection institutions interact with country social context to produce development outcomes. Previous work has established that higher levels of social heterogeneity, ethnic fractionalization in particular, are associated with lower levels of public goods provision (Easterly and Levine, 1997; Alesina et al., 1999). Democracy tends to ameliorate these negative effects (Collier, 2000). Since democracy is a multidimensional concept, however, identifying which characteristics of democracy produce better development outcomes in diverse social contexts is important. This paper considers two such dimensions: contestation and inclusiveness (Dahl, 1971; Coppedge et al., 2008). Empirical tests using a cross-sectional dataset covering 104 countries indicate that political contestation matters more than inclusiveness for reducing rates of infant mortality in countries with high levels of ethnic diversity and economic inequality. Conversely, where levels of social heterogeneity are low, greater inclusiveness tends to reduce infant mortality.  

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