Living in a democratic society is better for human health, says new research. According to the research, published on the Lancet, countries that switched to democracy saw a rise in people’s life expectancy and reduced deaths due to cardiovascular disease, diseases such as cancer and cirrhosis, and road traffic accidents.
“Free and fair elections appear important for improving adult health … most likely by increasing government accountability and responsiveness,” the study said. “Democracies are more likely than autocracies to lead to health gains.”
The study comes at a time the idea of democracy is facing threat from across the world due to the rise of populist leaders and success of anti-democratic regimes.
The researchers used variables of democracy as measured by the V-Dem index and plotted them against health-related variables such as health spending and disease outcomes. Trends were compared in countries that switched to democracy since the 1970s.
It found that compared to their counterparts, people’s life expectancy at 15 years age improved by 3% after a decade of shifting to democracy. Fall in tuberculosis, cardi0vascular diseases, non-communicable diseases and transport injuries were also seen,
The researchers did not consider the impact on HIV/AIDS as foreign aid has been amply dedicated to its treatment.
The study is the biggest to establish a correlation between democracy and human health.