Does Trade Reduce Infant Mortality? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Pallavi Panda, University of California, Riverside

This study estimates the effects of a large scale trade policy shift on infant mortality, using the recent experience of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) affecting sub-Saharan Africa. Using the retrospective DHS from 30 sub-Saharan African countries, I build a micro-panel running across countries to exploit the within-mother variation, which is an improvement over the cross-country studies carried out till date. Findings suggest that infant mortality falls by about 7 to 13 infant deaths per 1000 which is as much as 9% to 16% of the sample mean. At the macro level, the effect seems to be taking place via increase in GDP per capita and increases in health expenditure per capita. It was also found that uneducated, rural and poor women experience significant decreases in infant deaths. The heterogeneous effects show that trade is helping the more backward sections of the society and hence improving developmental outcomes.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Health of Women, Children, and Families