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Poverty and survival prospects of Vietnamese children under Doi Moi

  • Wagstaff, Adam
  • Nga Nguyet Nguyen

By international standards, and given its relatively low per capita income, Vietnam has achieved substantial reductions in, and low levels of, infant and under-five mortality. The authors review existing evidence and provide new evidence on whether, under the economic liberalization program known as Doi Moi, this reduction in child mortality has been sustained. They conclude that it has, but that the gains have been concentrated among the better-off. As a result, socioeconomic inequalities in child survival are evident in Vietnam-a change from the early 1990s when none were apparent. The authors develop survival models to find the causes of this differential decline in child mortality, and conclude that a number of factors have been at work, including reductions among the poor (but not among the better-off) in coverage of health services and in women's educational attainment. They argue that if the experience of the late 1990s is a guide to the future, the lack of progress among the poor will jeopardize Vietnam's chances of achieving the international development goals for child mortality. The authors examine various policy scenarios, including expanding coverage of health services, water and sanitation, and find that such measures, while useful, will have only a limited effect on the mortality of poor children. They find that programs aimed at narrowing the gap between the poor and better-off may have large beneficial effects on the various determinants of child survival.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2832.

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Date of creation: 30 Apr 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2832
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  1. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 1999. "The Effect of Household Wealth on Educational Attainment: Evidence from 35 Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(1), pages 85-120.
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  6. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Does piped water reduce diarrhea for children in rural India ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2664, The World Bank.
  7. Wagstaff, Adam & Paci, Pierella & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1991. "On the measurement of inequalities in health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 545-557, January.
  8. Guilkey, David K. & Riphahn, Regina T., 1998. "The determinants of child mortality in the Philippines: estimation of a structural model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 281-305, August.
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  10. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1.
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