The political and economic determinants of health outcomes: a cross-national analysis

Int J Health Serv. 1993;23(3):585-602. doi: 10.2190/EQUY-ACG8-X59F-AE99.


This article investigates the impact of selected political and economic processes on the well-being of domestic populations within samples of 50 to 84 peripheral and noncore nations. Existing research by Cereseto and Waitzkin on the relative merits of market versus socialist systems for the provision of health and welfare needs of their populations is extended by employing a more complex model than the original study. More specifically, the authors assess the impact on measures of population health and mortality rates of regime ideology, state strength, multinational corporate penetration, and position in the world economy. In general, high levels of democracy and strong left-wing regimes are associated with positive health outcomes, and strong right-wing regimes have populations with lower life expectancies and higher levels of various measures of mortality. These findings support the conclusion that political systems make a difference in health and well-being independent of national (gross national product per capita) and international (investment dependency) economic factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality / trends
  • Life Expectancy / trends*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Political Systems
  • Politics*
  • Socialism
  • Socioeconomic Factors*