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Sibling death clustering in India: state dependence "versus" unobserved heterogeneity

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  • Wiji Arulampalam
  • Sonia Bhalotra

Abstract

Data from a range of environments indicate that the incidence of death is not randomly distributed across families but, rather, that there is a clustering of death among siblings. A natural explanation of this would be that there are (observed or unobserved) differences across families, e.g. in genetic frailty, education or living standards. Another hypothesis that is of considerable interest for both theory and policy is that there is a "causal" process whereby the death of a child influences the risk of death of the succeeding child in the family. Drawing language from the literature on the economics of unemployment, the causal effect is referred to here as state dependence (or scarring). The paper investigates the extent of state dependence in India, distinguishing this from family level risk factors that are common to siblings. It offers some methodological innovations on previous research. Estimates are obtained for each of three Indian states, which exhibit dramatic differences in socio-economic and demographic variables. The results suggest a significant degree of state dependence in each of the three regions. Eliminating scarring, it is estimated, would reduce the incidence of infant mortality (among children who are born after the first child) by 9.8% in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 6.0% in West Bengal and 5.9% in Kerala. Copyright 2006 Royal Statistical Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Statistical Society in its journal Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society).

Volume (Year): 169 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 829-848

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:169:y:2006:i:4:p:829-848

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Cited by:
  1. Bas van der Klaauw & Limin Wang, 2005. "Child Mortality In Rural India," Working Papers id:136, eSocialSciences.
  2. Saha, U.R., 2012. "Econometric models of child mortality dynamics in rural Bangladesh," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5242206, Tilburg University.
  3. Saha, U.R. & Soest, A.H.O. van & Bijwaard, G.E., 2012. "Cause-specific Neonatal Deaths: Levels, Trend and Determinants in Rural Bangladesh, 1987-2005," Discussion Paper 2012-016, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Marco Alfano, 2014. "Daughters, Dowries, Deliveries:The Effect of Marital Payments on Fertility Choices in India," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1413, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  5. Saha, U.R. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 2009. "Infant Mortality in Rural Bangladesh: State Dependence vs. Unobserved Heterogeneity," Discussion Paper 2009-26, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Soest, A.H.O. van & Saha, U.R., 2012. "Birth Spacing, Child Survival and Fertility Decisions: Analysis of Causal Mechanismsa," Discussion Paper 2012-018, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Diane Dancer & Anu Rammohan & Murray D. Smith, 2008. "Infant mortality and child nutrition in Bangladesh," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(9), pages 1015-1035.
  8. Soest, A.H.O. van & Saha, U.R., 2012. "Does Family Planning Reduce Infant Mortality? Evidence from Surveillance Data in Matlab, Bangladesh," Discussion Paper 2012-019, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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