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Child Health and Infant Mortality in Brazil

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  • Denisard Alves
  • Walter Belluzzo

Abstract

Child health is a central issue on the public policy agenda of developing countries. Several policies geared to improving child health have been implemented over the years, with varying degrees of success. In Brazil, such policies have led to a significant decline in infant mortality rates over the last 30 years. Despite this improvement, however, mortality rates are still high by international standards and there is substantial variation across Brazilian municipalities, which suggests that differentiated policies should be devised. The aim of this paper is to investigate the determinants of infant mortality at the municipal level, and to provide a more detailed analysis by considering the factors that affect child health at the individual level. To analyze the mortality rate, static and dynamic panel data models are estimated using four censuses covering the period 1970-2000. The demand for child health is addressed through a household decision model, estimated using anthropometric data from the 1996 Standard of Living Survey. The results indicate that sanitation, education and per capita income contributed to the decline in infant mortality in Brazil, the effects being stronger in the long run than in the short run. The fixed effects associated with municipality characteristics help explain the observed dispersion in child mortality rates. The results of the decision model are in line with the mortality model findings: education, sanitation and poverty are the most important explanatory factors of poor child health in Brazil.

Suggested Citation

  • Denisard Alves & Walter Belluzzo, 2005. "Child Health and Infant Mortality in Brazil," Research Department Publications 3187, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3187
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    Cited by:

    1. Danielle Carusi Machado & Carine Milcent & Jacques Huguenin, 2013. "School absenteeism, work and health among Brazilian children: Full information versus limited information model," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 14(2), pages 46-60.
    2. Jere R. Behrman & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2004. "Correlates and Determinants of Child Anthropometrics in Latin America: Background and Overview of the Symposium," Research Department Publications 3191, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. AfDB AfDB, 2007. "Working Paper 91 - Health Expenditures and Health Outcomes in Africa," Working Paper Series 2224, African Development Bank.
    4. Carine Milcent & Jack Huguenin & Danielle Carusi-Machado, 2005. "Children In Brazil: Health, Education And Work," Anais do XXXIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 33th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 173, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    5. AfDB AfDB, 2007. "Working Paper 91 - Health Expenditures and Health Outcomes in Africa," Working Paper Series 2304, African Development Bank.
    6. Mário Jorge Cardoso de Mendonça & Ronaldo Seroa da Motta, 2005. "Saúde e Saneamento no Brasil," Discussion Papers 1081, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    7. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2009. "Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Characteristics in the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers 4594, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Behrman, Jere R. & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2004. "Correlates and determinants of child anthropometrics in Latin America: background and overview of the symposium," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 335-351.

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