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Child health inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Pérez-Mesa, David
  • Marrero, Gustavo A.
  • Darias-Curvo, Sara

Abstract

This paper contributes to the understanding of child health inequalities in Sub-Saharan African (SSA), the poorest and the second most unequal region in the world. Since health inequality begins at birth, correcting it during childhood is crucial to improving future opportunities for development and fighting against other forms of inequality during adulthood. For 33 SSA countries, we estimate child health inequality by cohorts: from 0-1 up to 4-5 years old. We pay special attention to the part of inequality explained by factors widely used in the literature, such as family background, the mother socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics, household structure, household facilities and the region of residence. Our starting measure of child health is the standardized height-for-age z-score. We show that child health inequality is systematically lesser for the older cohort than for the younger one. However, the aforementioned set of factors is impeding a further reduction in health inequality, as far as the share caused by these factors has risen along the age distribution in more than 80% of the countries. We do not find evidences that these results are caused by a mortality-selection bias. Instead, we find that family background, followed by household facilities and the region of residence contribute to explaining the differences observed in child health inequality along the age distribution in SSA.

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  • Pérez-Mesa, David & Marrero, Gustavo A. & Darias-Curvo, Sara, 2021. "Child health inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 108801, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:108801
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    Keywords

    Child health inequality; child age distribution; Sub-Saharan Africa; family background; anthropometric.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • P52 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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