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Child health on a dollar a day: some tentative cross-country comparisons


  • Wagstaff, Adam


Children living on a dollar a day--the international extreme poverty line--appear to have radically different chances of dying in childhood and being malnourished, depending on the country in which they live. In Kazakhstan, a child living on a dollar a day, has only a 10% risk of being underweight, while the risk facing a child living on a dollar a day in India is nearly 60%. The Kazakh child has a risk of less than 40 per 1000 of dying before his first birthday, while a child living on a dollar a day in Niger faces a risk of nearly 160 per 1000. Countries where mortality and malnutrition risks at a dollar a day are high are not typically those where there are large gaps in child survival and in malnutrition between the poor and better-off. The two concepts of inequality and health risks at the poverty line are not only conceptually distinct--they are empirically distinct too. The large differences between countries in the risks of mortality and malnutrition in childhood beg the obvious question--what accounts for these differences? Some regression results presented in the paper suggest that these differences may be due to differences across countries in levels of per capita expenditure on the health sector. Regressions find that higher levels of per capita public spending on the health sector are associated with significantly lower levels of mortality and malnutrition amongst children living on a dollar a day.

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  • Wagstaff, Adam, 2003. "Child health on a dollar a day: some tentative cross-country comparisons," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(9), pages 1529-1538, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:57:y:2003:i:9:p:1529-1538

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Brown,Caitlin Susan & Ravallion,Martin & Van De Walle,Dominique, 2017. "Are poor individuals mainly found in poor households ? evidence using nutrition data for Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8001, The World Bank.
    2. Owen O’Donnell & Ravi P. Rannan-Eliya & Aparnaa Somanathan & Shiva Raj Adhikari & Deni Harbianto & Charu C. Garg & Piya Hanvoravongchai & Mohammed N. Huq & Anup Karan & Gabriel M. Leung & Badri Raj , 2010. "Who benefits from public spending on health care in Asia?," Working Papers id:2626, eSocialSciences.
    3. Datta, Soumyendra Kishore & Singh, Krishna, 2016. "Analysis of child deprivation in India: Focus on health and educational perspectives," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 120-130.
    4. van Doorslaer, Eddy & O'Donnell, Owen, 2008. "Measurement and Explanation of Inequality in Health and Health Care in Low-Income Settings," WIDER Working Paper Series DP2008/04, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. David Woodward & Andrew Simms, 2006. "Growth is Failing the Poor: The Unbalanced Distribution of the Benefits and Costs of Global Economic Growth," Working Papers 20, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
    6. Álvarez, Begoña & Vera-Hernández, Marcos, 2013. "Exploiting subjective information to understand impoverished children's use of health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1194-1204.
    7. McGuire, James W., 2006. "Basic health care provision and under-5 mortality: A Cross-National study of developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 405-425, March.
    8. Zimmer, Zachary, 2008. "Poverty, wealth inequality and health among older adults in rural Cambodia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 57-71, January.
    9. 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.

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