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Sibling Death Clustering in India: State Dependence vs. Unobserved Heterogeneity

Author

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  • Arulampalam, Wiji

    () (University of Warwick)

  • Bhalotra, Sonia R.

    () (University of Essex)

Abstract

Data from a range of different environments indicate that the incidence of death is not randomly distributed across families but, rather, that there is a clustering of death amongst siblings. A natural explanation of this would be that there are (observed or unobserved) differences across families, for example in genetic frailty, education or living standards. Another hypothesis of considerable interest for both theory and policy is that there is a causal process whereby the death of a child influences the risk of death of the succeeding child in the family. Drawing language from the literature on the economics of unemployment, the causal effect is referred to here as state dependence (or scarring). This paper investigates the extent of state dependence in India, distinguishing this from family-level risk factors common to siblings. It offers a number of methodological innovations upon previous research. Estimates are obtained for each of three Indian states, which exhibit dramatic differences in socio-economic and demographic variables. The results suggest a significant degree of state dependence in each of the three regions. Eliminating scarring, it is estimated, would reduce the incidence of infant mortality (among children born after the first child) by 9.8% in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 6.0% in West Bengal and 5.9% in Kerala.

Suggested Citation

  • Arulampalam, Wiji & Bhalotra, Sonia R., 2006. "Sibling Death Clustering in India: State Dependence vs. Unobserved Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 2251, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2251
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    Cited by:

    1. Bhalotra, Sonia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions. Evidence from A Historical Trial," Ruhr Economic Papers 504, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Bhalotra, Sonia, 2010. "Fatal fluctuations? Cyclicality in infant mortality in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 7-19, September.
    3. van Soest, A.H.O. & Saha, U.R., 2012. "Birth Spacing, Child Survival and Fertility Decisions : Analysis of Causal Mechanismsa," Discussion Paper 2012-018, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Bhalotra, Sonia & Soest, Arthur van, 2008. "Birth-spacing, fertility and neonatal mortality in India: Dynamics, frailty, and fecundity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 143(2), pages 274-290, April.
    5. Sonia Bhalotra, 2008. "Sibling-Linked Data in the Demographic and Health Surveys," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/203, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    6. Baiju Shah & Laxmi Dwivedi, 2011. "Causes of Neonatal Deaths among Tribal Women in Gujarat, India," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 30(4), pages 517-536, August.
    7. Sonia Bhalotra & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions," CINCH Working Paper Series 1404, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
    8. van Soest, A.H.O. & Saha, U.R., 2012. "Does Family Planning Reduce Infant Mortality? Evidence from Surveillance Data in Matlab, Bangladesh," Discussion Paper 2012-019, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    9. Singh, Prashant Kumar & Parasuraman, Sulabha, 2014. "‘Looking beyond the male–female dichotomy’ – Sibling composition and child immunization in India, 1992–2006," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 145-153.
    10. Bhalotra, Sonia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2015. "Infant health and longevity: evidence from a historical trial in Sweden," ISER Working Paper Series 2015-08, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    11. Arulampalam, Wiji & Bhalotra, Sonia R., 2006. "Persistence in Infant Mortality: Evidence for the Indian States," IZA Discussion Papers 2488, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Makate, Marshall & Makate, Clifton, 2016. "Is poor sanitation killing more children in rural Zimbabwe? Results of propensity score matching method," MPRA Paper 72831, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 02 Aug 2016.
    13. repec:zbw:rwirep:0504 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Sonia Bhalotra & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions. Evidence from A Historical Trial," Ruhr Economic Papers 0504, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    15. Saha, U.R. & van Soest, A.H.O., 2009. "Infant Mortality in Rural Bangladesh : State Dependence vs. Unobserved Heterogeneity," Discussion Paper 2009-26, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    state dependence; multi-level model; death clustering; dynamic random effects logit; scarring; unobserved heterogeneity; infant mortality; India;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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