Changing Neighbourhood and Infant Mortality in Rural India

Wiji Arulampalam, University of Warwick
Sonia Bhalotra, University of Bristol

Childhood mortality rates in India are concentrated along geographic and family lines. Five of twenty-six states account for more than half of the under-5 deaths in the country. Within states, a small fraction of villages account for most deaths. Within villages, some families experience multiple child deaths, while others experience none. There is clustering of childhood death by region and by family. We use two waves of an all-India health survey to examine two questions that these facts suggest. First, what is the effect of fertility norms and contraceptive availability on mortality rates by region? Second, would the family-level state-dependence in mortality risk identified in earlier research disappear if governments were to make contraception more widely available? Our results suggest that contraceptive availability at the district-level has a significant mortality-reducing effect, but only in the second wave of the data.

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Presented in Session 158: Spatial Determinants of Health