Lowering Child Mortality in Poor Countries: The Power of Knowledgeable Parents
AbstractWhy do over 20% of children die in some poor countries, while in others only 2% die? We examine this question using survey data covering 278,000 children in 45 low-income countries. We find that parents' education and a mother's propensity to seek out modern healthcare are empirically important when explaining child survival, while the prevalence of common diseases, along with infrastructure such as improved water and sanitation, are not. Using a GINI coefficient we construct for treatment services, we find that public and private health systems are "equally unequal", that is, both tend to favor children in relatively well-off households, and neither appears superior at improving outcomes in very poor communities. These facts contrast with a common view that a much-expanded public health sector is necessary to reduce child mortality. Instead, we believe the empirical evidence points to the essential role of parents as advocates for their child's health. If we can provide better health knowledge and general education to parents, a private healthcare sector can arise to meet demand. We provide evidence that this alternative route to low mortality is indeed a reason behind the current success of many countries with low child mortality, including Vietnam, Indonesia, Egypt, and the Indian state of Kerala. Finally, we calculate a realistic package of interventions that target education, health knowledge and treatment seeking could reduce child mortality by 32%.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0751.
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
- I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AFR-2006-12-22 (Africa)
- NEP-ALL-2006-12-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-CWA-2006-12-22 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-DEV-2006-12-22 (Development)
- NEP-HEA-2006-12-22 (Health Economics)
- NEP-KNM-2006-12-22 (Knowledge Management & Knowledge Economy)
- NEP-SEA-2006-12-22 (South East Asia)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2007.
"Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth,"
Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 925-985, December.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2006. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 12269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
- David N. Weil, 2007.
"Accounting for The Effect of Health on Economic Growth,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press,
MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1265-1306, 08.
- David N. Weil, 2005. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," Working Papers 2005-07, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- David N. Weil, 2005. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 11455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Weil, 2006. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," DEGIT Conference Papers, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade c011_031, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
- Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, 01.
- Singh, Prakarsh, 2011. "Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Malnutrition in Urban Slums," MPRA Paper 29403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Casabonne, Ursula & Kenny, Charles, 2012. "The Best Things in Life are (Nearly) Free: Technology, Knowledge, and Global Health," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 21-35.
- Jack, William & Lewis, Maureen, 2009. "Health investments and economic growth : macroeconomic evidence and microeconomic foundations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4877, The World Bank.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.