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Infant mortality and child nutrition in Bangladesh

  • Diane Dancer

    (Discipline of Econometrics and Business Statistics, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia)

  • Anu Rammohan

    (Discipline of Economics, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia)

  • Murray D. Smith

    (Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Scotland, UK)

Registered author(s):

    The excess female infant mortality observed in South Asia has typically been attributed to gender discrimination in the intra-household allocation of food and medical care. However, studies on child nutrition find no evidence of gender differences. A natural explanation could be that in environments of high infant mortality of females, the surviving children are healthier, so that child nutrition cannot be studied independently of mortality. In this paper, we use data from the 2004 Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey to investigate if there are any gender differences in survival probabilities and whether this leads to differences in child nutrition. We argue the importance of establishing whether or not there exists a dependence relationship between the two random variables - infant mortality and child nutrition - and in order to detect this we employ a copula approach to model specification. The results suggest, for example, that while male children have a significantly lower likelihood of surviving their first year relative to female children, should they survive they have significantly better height-for-age Z-scores. From a policy perspective, household wealth and public health interventions such as vaccinations are found to be important predictors of better nutritional outcomes. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1379
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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 9 ()
    Pages: 1015-1035

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:17:y:2008:i:9:p:1015-1035
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1379
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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    1. Murray D. Smith, 2003. "Modelling sample selection using Archimedean copulas," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 6(1), pages 99-123, 06.
    2. Morduch, Jonathan J. & Stern, Hal S., 1997. "Using mixture models to detect sex bias in health outcomes in Bangladesh," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 259-276, March.
    3. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2006. "Long term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 450-474, July.
    4. Leslie, Joanne, 1988. "Women's work and child nutrition in the Third World," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 16(11), pages 1341-1362, November.
    5. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Selective gender differences in childhood nutrition and immunization in rural India: The role of siblings," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(3), pages 395-418, August.
    6. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
    7. David Bishaia & Michael Koenig & Mehrab Ali Khan, 2003. "Measles vaccination improves the equity of health outcomes: evidence from Bangladesh," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(5), pages 415-419.
    8. 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.
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    13. Duncan Thomas & John Strauss & Maria-Helena Henriques, 1991. "How Does Mother's Education Affect Child Height?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 183-211.
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    17. G. S. Maddala, 1994. "Econometric Methods And Applications," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 293.
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