Cover Blurbs (2010 Book)

Wealth, Health, and Democracy in East Asia and Latin America

Blurbs from the back cover

“Infant mortality tells us a tremendous amount about a society. To what extent does the government care about the most vulnerable? No one has plumbed the determinants of infant mortality across countries better than James McGuire. In this compelling study, McGuire scrupulously shows that economic growth is not enough to reduce infant mortality; effective delivery of social services matters. Moreover, he shows that democracy is important as well. Sustained democratic rule creates a culture more conducive to the expansion of human capabilities. A powerful piece of social science.”

– Stephan Haggard, University of California San Diego


“This is an impressive book that drives home an extremely important argument: Provision of comparatively low-cost public health services is a more effective way of lowering premature mortality than reliance on economic growth, and democracy over the long run favors provision and utilization of these services. McGuire musters massive amounts of evidence, which makes the book a goldmine for scholars and students interested in development in general as well as in country studies.”
– Evelyne Huber, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


“James McGuire has produced an outstanding, and in many respects pathbreaking, book. It is important not only because of its theoretical and analytical contributions, which are considerable, but also because it has major policy implications about an issue of fundamental social importance: keeping infants alive. He argues persuasively that countries do not need high growth or large welfare states to lower mortality; relatively inexpensive and non-controversial primary health programs can have a striking impact. McGuire skillfully melds together an extensive literature on public health policy with political science literature on regime type, interest groups, and international influences. The book will be of considerable interest both to the policy community and to academic research audiences in political science, economics, and sociology.”
– Robert Kaufman, Rutgers University


“Political science has focused too exclusively on the creation and operation of institutions and has examined too little the policy outputs and outcomes that they produce. In this unique and impressive book, James McGuire helps to rectify this stark imbalance by investigating the impact of democracy and of specific policy programs on basic health issues. The broad, cross-regional scope of the analysis and the depth of the research are exceptional. I am highly impressed by the mastery of detail, the comprehensiveness of the analysis, and McGuire’s capacity to put it all together as a vast canvas. This book is certain to have an important place in the scholarly literature.”
– Kurt Weyland, University of Texas, Austin