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Inequality Of Opportunity In Child Health In The Arab World And Turkey

Listed author(s):
  • RAGUI ASSAAD

    ()

    (Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis MN 55455, USA)

  • CAROLINE KRAFFT

    ()

    (Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, 1994 Buford Ave., St. Paul MN 55108, USA)

  • NADIA BELHAJ HASSINE

    ()

    (International Development Research Center, Cairo, Egypt)

  • DJAVAD SALEHI-ISFAHANI

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA 24061, USA)

It is by now well established in the public health literature that health and nutrition in the first years of life are critical to health and wellbeing later in life. In this paper, we examine the patterns of inequality of opportunity in health and nutrition outcomes, such as height-for-age and weight-for-height, for children under 5 years of age in selected Arab Countries and Turkey, using Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data. Our objective is to decompose inequality into a portion that is due to inequality of opportunity and a portion that is due to other factors, such as random variations in health and genetics. Inequality of opportunity is defined as the inequality that is due to differences in circumstances, such as parental characteristics, household wealth, place of birth and gender. We measure inequality using decomposable general entropy measures, such as the Theil-T index, and use parametric decomposition methods to determine the share of inequality of opportunity in total inequality.Results show that different levels and trends are evident across countries in both the overall inequality of child health outcomes and in the share of inequality of opportunity in total inequality. Inequality of opportunity is shown to contribute substantially to the inequality of child health outcomes, but its share in total inequality varies significantly both across countries and within countries over time. To further highlight the relative contribution of circumstances to the inequality of child health outcomes in different countries, we simulate height and weight outcomes for a most and least advantaged child in each context. Since these simulations set observed circumstances at their best and worst levels, the larger the difference in predicted outcomes between the most and least advantaged child, the larger is the inequality of opportunity facing children in that country.

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Article provided by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. in its journal Middle East Development Journal.

Volume (Year): 04 (2012)
Issue (Month): 02 ()
Pages: 1-37

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Handle: RePEc:wsi:medjxx:v:04:y:2012:i:02:p:1250006-1-1250006-37
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  1. Ferreira , Francisco H. G. & Gignoux, Jeremie, 2008. "The measurement of inequality of opportunity : theory and an application to Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4659, The World Bank.
  2. Jorge M. Agüero & Michael R. Carter & Ingrid Woolard, 2007. "The Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Nutrition: The South African Child Support Grant," Working Papers 39, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  3. Paul Glewwe, 1999. "Why Does Mother's Schooling Raise Child Health in Developing Countries? Evidence from Morocco," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 124-159.
  4. Menno Pradhan & David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2001. "Decomposing World Health Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-091/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. David M. Blau & David K. Guilkey & Barry M. Popkin, 1996. "Infant Health and the Labor Supply of Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 90-139.
  6. Chris Elbers & Peter Lanjouw & Johan Mistiaen & Berk Özler, 2008. "Reinterpreting between-group inequality," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(3), pages 231-245, September.
  7. Owen O'Donnell & Ángel López Nicolás & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2007. "Growing richer and taller: Explaining Change in the Distribution of Child Nutritional Status during Vietnam’s Economic Boom," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-008/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
  9. Elizabeth Frankenberg & Duncan Thomas, 2001. "Women’s health and pregnancy outcomes: Do services make a difference?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(2), pages 253-265, May.
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