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Spending to save? State health expenditure and infant mortality in India

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  • Sonia Bhalotra

    (Department of Economics & CMPO, University of Bristol, UK)

Abstract

There are severe inequalities in health in the world, poor health being concentrated amongst poor people in poor countries. Poor countries spend a much smaller share of national income on health expenditure than do richer countries. What potential lies in political or growth processes that raise this share? This depends upon how effective government health spending in developing countries is. Existing research presents little evidence of an impact on childhood mortality. Using specifications similar to those in the existing literature, this paper finds a similar result for India, which is that state health spending saves no lives. However, upon allowing lagged effects, controlling in a flexible way for trended unobservables and restricting the sample to rural households, a significant effect of health expenditure on infant mortality emerges, the long run elasticity being about −0.24. There are striking differences in the impact by social group. Slicing the data by gender, birth order, religion, maternal and paternal education and maternal age at birth, I find the weakest effects in the most vulnerable groups (with the exception of a large effect for scheduled tribes). Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2007)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 911-928

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:16:y:2007:i:9:p:911-928

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Marijn Verhoeven & Sanjeev Gupta & Erwin Tiongson, 1999. "Does Higher Government Spending Buy Better Results in Education and Health Care?," IMF Working Papers 99/21, International Monetary Fund.
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Cited by:
  1. Sparrow, R.A. & Pradhan, M.P. & Kruse, I., 2009. "Marginal benefit incidence of public health spending: evidence from Indonesian sub-national data," ISS Working Papers - General Series 18706, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  2. Nizalova, Olena Y. & Vyshnya, Maria, 2009. "Evaluation of the Impact of the Mother and Infant Health Project in Ukraine," IZA Discussion Papers 4593, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Nilgun Yavuz & Veli Yilanci & Zehra Ozturk, 2013. "Is health care a luxury or a necessity or both? Evidence from Turkey," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 5-10, February.
  4. Kaushal, Kaushalendra Kumar & F Ram, Faujdar Ram & Abhishek, Abhishek Singh, 2013. "Public Spending on Health and Childhood Mortality in India," MPRA Paper 48680, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras, 2011. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/280, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  6. Mansour Farahani & S. V. Subramanian & David Canning, 2010. "Effects of state-level public spending on health on the mortality probability in India," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(11), pages 1361-1376.
  7. Casabonne, Ursula & Kenny, Charles, 2012. "The Best Things in Life are (Nearly) Free: Technology, Knowledge, and Global Health," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 21-35.
  8. Bhalotra, Sonia, 2010. "Fatal fluctuations? Cyclicality in infant mortality in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 7-19, September.

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