Welfare states, labor markets, political dynamics, and population health: A time-series cross-sectional analysis among East and Southeast Asian nations

Edwin Ng, Carles Muntaner, Haejoo Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Recent scholarship offers different theories on how macrosocial determinants affect the population health of East and Southeast Asian nations. Dominant theories emphasize the effects of welfare regimes, welfare generosity, and labor market institutions. In this article, we conduct exploratory time-series cross-sectional analyses to generate new evidence on these theories while advancing a political explanation. Using unbalanced data of 7 East Asian countries and 11 Southeast Asian nations from 1960 to 2012, primary findings are 3-fold. First, welfare generosity measured as education and health spending has a positive impact on life expectancy, net of GDP. Second, life expectancy varies significantly by labor markets; however, these differences are explained by differences in welfare generosity. Third, as East and Southeast Asian countries become more democratic, welfare generosity increases, and population health improves. This study provides new evidence on the value of considering politics, welfare states, and labor markets within the same conceptual framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-231
Number of pages13
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • East Asia
  • Labor markets
  • Political regimes
  • Population health
  • Southeast Asia
  • Time-series cross-sectional analysis
  • Welfare generosity
  • Welfare regimes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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