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Why has under-5 mortality decreased at such different rates in different countries?

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/07/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Health Economics
Volume48
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)16-25
Publication statusPublished
Early online date16/03/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Controlling for socioeconomic and geographic factors, under-5 mortality (5q0) in developing countries has been declining at about 2.7% per year, a high rate of ‘technical progress’. This paper adduces theoretical and empirical reasons for rejecting the usual specification of homogeneous technical progress across countries and uses a panel of 95 developing countries for the period 1970 to 2000 to explore the consequences of heterogeneity. Allowing country-specific rates of technical progress sharply reduces the estimated income elasticity of 5q0 and points to country variation in technical progress as the principal source of the (large) cross-country variation in 5q0 decline. Education levels and physician coverage also contribute and are less affected than income of allowing country variation in technical progress. The paper concludes by decomposing 1970–2000 5q0 decline into its different sources for each country.