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Regional dimensions of infant mortality in Brazil

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  • Ana Barufi

    ()

  • Eduardo Haddad

    ()

  • Antonio Paez

Abstract

Development can be understood from many perspectives. Among those, the one proposed by Amartya Sen states that a development policy should aim at expanding the freedom of individuals, and this goal can be achieved by the expansion of capabilities. With this conceptual framework in mind, health, more specifically infant mortality, is chosen as a measure of development and as the object of study. The Government should guarantee the provision of health services, as they consist in meritory goods. Mosley and Chen (1984) propose a theoretical framework to study infant mortality based on the proximal determinants, in which the socioeconomic factors affect the result observed indirectly. In Brazil there has been a substantial reduction of the average levels of infant mortality rates in the last decades. However, there is still a significant regional inequality. Econometric models for 1980, 1991 and 2000 are estimated including a spatial filter in order to account for the spatial dependency observed in the data. The study concludes that health infrastructure lost its explanative power for the differences in infant mortality rate among the localities. On the other hand, socioeconomic variables have become more relevant and significant. It means that future public policies must try to improve the access of the families to public facilities, reduce poverty and inequality and improve educational levels. Therefore, the family-based prevention against health problems should be stimulated, helping to avoid premature death.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa10p198.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p198

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  1. Soares, Rodrigo R., 2007. "Health and the evolution of welfare across Brazilian municipalities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 590-608, November.
  2. Angus Deaton, 2002. "Health, inequality, and economic development," Working Papers 209, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  3. Elca Rosenberg & Denisard Alves & Christopher Timmins & Robert Evenson, 2000. "Health, Climate and Development in Brazil: A Cross-Section Analysis," Research Department Publications 3086, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  5. Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Wealthier is healthier," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1150, The World Bank.
  6. Narayan Sastry, 1996. "Community characteristics, individual and household attributes, and child survival in brazil," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 211-229, May.
  7. Alves, Denisard & Belluzzo, Walter, 2004. "Infant mortality and child health in Brazil," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 391-410, December.
  8. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John & Henriques, Maria-Helena, 1990. "Child survival, height for age and household characteristics in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 197-234, October.
  9. Lucia Hanmer & Robert Lensink & Howard White, 2003. "Infant and child mortality in developing countries: Analysing the data for Robust determinants," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 101-118.
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