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Reducing the Incidence of Low Birth Weight in Low-Income Countries Has Substantial Economic Benefits

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Author Info

  • Harold Alderman
  • Jere R. Behrman

Abstract

Reducing the incidence of low birth weight not only lowers infant mortality rates but also has multiple benefits over the life cycle. This study estimates the economic benefits of reducing the incidence of low birth weight in low-income countries, both through lower mortality rates and medical costs and through increased learning and productivity. The estimated economic benefits, under plausible assumptions, are fairly substantial, at about $510 per infant moved from a low-birth-weight status. The estimated gains are primarily from increases in labor productivity (partially through more education) and secondarily from avoiding costs due to infant illness and death. Thus there may be many interventions to reduce the incidence of low birth weight that are warranted purely on the grounds of saving resources or increasing productivity. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 21 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 25-48

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:21:y:2006:i:1:p:25-48

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Cited by:
  1. Jere R. Behrman, University of Pennsylvania & John Hoddinott & John Maluccio & Erica Soler-Hampejsek & Emily L. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Manuel Ramirez-Zea, Institute of Nutrition for Central Am, 2006. "What Determines Adult Cognitive Skills? Impacts of Pre-Schooling, Schooling and Post-Schooling Experiences in Guatemala," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0615, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  2. Martine AUDIBERT & Pascale COMBES MOTEL & Alassane DRABO, 2010. "Global Burden of Disease and Economic Growth," Working Papers 201036, CERDI.
  3. Jere R. Behrman & Julia A. Behrman & Nykia M. Perez, 2009. "On what diseases and health conditions should new economic research on health and development focus?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S1), pages S109-S128, April.
  4. Yamauchi, Futoshi & Higuchi, Katsuhiko & Suhaeti, Rita, 2010. "Impacts of Prenatal and Environmental Factors on Child Growth: Evidence from Indonesia," Working Papers 12, JICA Research Institute.
  5. Schultz, T. Paul, 2010. "Population and Health Policies," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  6. Mohamed, Issam A.W., 2011. "Challenges of formal social security systems in Sudan," MPRA Paper 31611, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Alberto, Gabriele & Schettino, Francesco, 2006. "Child Mortality In China And Vietnam In A Comparative Perspective," MPRA Paper 3987, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2006.
  8. Yamauchi, Futoshi, 2012. "Long-term Impacts of Rice Price and Production Seasonality on Human Capital: Evidence from Rural Indonesia," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126163, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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