Infant and child mortality in developing countries: Analysing the data for robust determinants

B.W. Lensink, L. Hamner, H. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Is development best achieved by going for growth, or does specific attention need to be paid to directly improving human welfare? In contrast to the Human Development Reports of the UNDP the World Bank has stressed the growth approach. Recent work has reinforced this position by arguing that health spending is extremely ineffective in reducing infant or child mortality, which is mainly explained by a country income per capita. This article contests this position through testing the robustness Of determinants of infant and child mortality. We have estimated over 420, 000 equations which show that, while income per capita is a robust determinant of infant and child mortality, so are indicators of health, education and gender inequality. Some health spending, such as immunisation, is thus shown to be a cost effective way of saving lives. Our results are consistent with the view that much health spending in developing countries may be poorly targeted or otherwise ineffective, but do not support the position that public health strategies should not be given too great a role in pursuing improvements in human welfare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-118
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2003



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