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Adult Mortality From Sibling Survival Data: A Reappraisal of Selection Biases

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  • Bruno Masquelier

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Abstract

Because of incomplete registration of deaths in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, data on the survival of close relatives constitute the cornerstone of estimates of adult mortality. Since 1990, sibling histories have been widely collected in Demographic and Health Surveys and are increasingly being relied upon to estimate both general and maternal mortality. Until recently, the use of sibling histories was thought to lead to underestimates of mortality, but a more optimistic view in the literature emerged with the development by Gakidou and King (Demography 43:569–585, 2006 ) of corrections for selection biases. Based on microsimulations, this article shows that Gakidou and King’s weighting scheme has been incorrectly applied to survey data, leading to overestimates of mortality, especially for males. The evidence for an association between mortality and sibship size in adulthood is reviewed. Female mortality appears to decline slightly with the number of surviving sisters, although this could be an artifact of severe recall errors in larger sibships or familial clustering of deaths. Under most circumstances, corrections for selection biases should have only a modest effect on sibling estimates. Copyright Population Association of America 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Masquelier, 2013. "Adult Mortality From Sibling Survival Data: A Reappraisal of Selection Biases," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(1), pages 207-228, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:207-228
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-012-0149-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. D. de Walque & P. Verwimp, 2010. "The Demographic and Socio-economic Distribution of Excess Mortality during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 19(2), pages 141-162, March.
    2. Emmanuela Gakidou & Gary King, 2006. "Death by survey: Estimating adult mortality without selection bias from sibling survival data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(3), pages 569-585, August.
    3. Ian Timæus & Momodou Jasseh, 2004. "Adult mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from demographic and health surveys," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(4), pages 757-772, November.
    4. Lundberg, Olle, 1993. "The impact of childhood living conditions on illness and mortality in adulthood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1047-1052, April.
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    1. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0594-y is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Stéphane Helleringer & Gilles Pison & Almamy Kanté & Géraldine Duthé & Armelle Andro, 2014. "Reporting Errors in Siblings’ Survival Histories and Their Impact on Adult Mortality Estimates: Results From a Record Linkage Study in Senegal," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 387-411, April.
    3. Andrea Verhulst, 2016. "Child mortality estimation: An assessment of summary birth history methods using microsimulation," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 34(39), pages 1075-1128, June.
    4. Bruno Schoumaker & Cris Beauchemin, 2015. "Reconstructing trends in international migration with three questions in household surveys," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 32(35), pages 983-1030, May.

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