Background: The evidence on the association between politics and health is scarce considering the importance of this topic for population health. Studies that investigated the effect of different political regimes on health outcomes show inconsistent results. Methods: Bayesian time-series cross-section analyses are used to examine the overall impact of regional politics on variations in Italian regional life expectancy (LE) at birth during the period 1980-2010. Our analyses control for trends in and unobserved determinants of regional LE, correct for temporal as well as spatial autocorrelation, and employ a flexible specification for the timing of the political effects. Results: In the period from 1980 to 1995, we find no evidence that the communist, left-oriented coalitions and Christian Democratic, centre-oriented coalitions have had an effect on regional LE. In the period from 1995 onwards, after a major reconfiguration of Italy's political regimes and a major healthcare reform, we again find no evidence that the Centre-Left and Centre-Right coalitions have had a significant impact on regional LE. Conclusion: The presented results provide no support for the notion that different regional political regimes in Italy have had a differential effect on regional LE, even though Italian regions have had considerable and increasing autonomy over healthcare and health-related policies and expenditures.

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Keywords Italy, life expectancy, politics, Population health
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Journal Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
Jonker, M.F, D'Ippolito, E. (Edoardo), Eikemo, T.A, Congdon, P.D, Nante, N. (Nicola), Mackenbach, J.P, & Kamphuis, C.B.M. (2017). The effect of regional politics on regional life expectancy in Italy (1980-2010). Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 45(2), 121–131. doi:10.1177/1403494816686266