Do nations with greater rights and freedoms enjoy better health? This study examined the combined influences of national levels of socioeconomic status, and rights and freedoms on population level health. The World Health Organization Framework of Social Determinants of Health—which encapsulates the social inequality and rights and freedoms arguments—was applied to a large cross-national sample of 120 nations. Using pathway analyses, four final models explored the direct and mediated relations of rights and freedoms on wealth and population health. Health indicators included life expectancy, infant mortality, and risk of non-communicable disease. Indicators for health behaviors included suicide rates, alcohol, and tobacco use. Results support the rights and freedoms gradient of health, in recognition of the crucial role of rights and freedoms in the determination of health.
Keywords: rights; freedoms; wealth; health; health behaviors; gradient of health.