Democracy and health: Evidence from within-country heterogeneity in the Congo

Peter van der Windt, Sotiris Vandoros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The literature documents a positive association between democracy and health, and studies supporting this claim have largely relied on cross-country panel analyses. In many developing countries, however, local traditional leaders at the micro-level play a key role in individuals' daily lives while the influence of the national government is largely negligible. In response, this study revisits the relationship between democracy and health using micro-level household data from 816 randomly selected villages in Eastern Congo. We find little or no evidence that health outcomes are better in villages that are governed by elected leaders compared to villages where leaders are not elected. Our data suggest that efforts to improve health outcomes in this setting may need to focus on issues such as gender discrimination and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Chiefs
  • Democracy
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Health
  • Micro-level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Democracy and health: Evidence from within-country heterogeneity in the Congo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this