Development Research Group, Development Economics, DEC
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Poverty, POV, Health, HEA
Development Research Group
Development Economics, DEC
Development Economics, DEC
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Last updated August 15, 2023
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Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-09) Filmer, Deon ; Friedman, Jed ; Schady, NorbertA family preference for sons over daughters may manifest itself in different ways, including higher mortality, worse health status, or lower educational attainment among girls. This study focuses on one measure of son preference in the developing world, namely the likelihood of continued childbearing given the gender composition of existing children in the family. The authors use an unusually large data set, covering 65 countries and approximately 5 million births. The analysis shows that son preference is apparent in many regions of the developing world and is particularly large in South Asia and in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. Modernization does not appear to reduce son preference. For example, in South Asia son preference is larger for women with more education and is increasing over time. The explanation for these patterns appears to be that latent son preference in childbearing is more likely to manifest itself when fertility levels are low. As a result of son preference, girls tend to grow up with significantly more siblings than boys do, which may have implications for their wellbeing if there are quantity-quality trade-offs that result in fewer material and emotional resources allocated to children in larger families.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-09) Baird, Sarah ; Friedman, Jed ; Schady, NorbertThe diffusion of cost-effective life saving technologies has reduced infant mortality in much of the developing world. Income gains may also play a direct, protective role in ensuring child survival, although the empirical findings to date on this issue have been mixed. This paper assembles data from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in 59 countries to analyze the relationship between changes in per capita GDP and infant mortality. The authors show that there is a strong, negative association between changes in per capita GDP and infant mortality- in a first-differenced specification the implied elasticity of infant mortality with respect to per capita GDP is approximately -0.56. In addition to this central result, two findings are noteworthy. First, although there is some evidence of changes in the composition of women giving birth during economic upturns and downturns, the observed changes in infant mortality are not a result of mothers with protective characteristics timing fertility to correspond with the business cycle. Second, the association between infant mortality and per capita GDP is particularly pronounced for periods of large contractions in GDP, suggesting the inability of developing country households or health systems (or both) to smooth resources. Simple back-of-the-envelope calculations using the estimates suggest that there may have been more than 1 million "excess" deaths in the developing world since 1980 as a result of large, negative contractions in per capita GDP.
Publication( 2009-08-01) Friedman, Jed ; Schady, NorbertThe human consequences of the current global financial crisis for the developing world are presumed to be severe yet few studies have quantified such impact. The authors estimate the additional number of infant deaths in sub-Saharan Africa likely due to the crisis and discuss possible mitigation strategies. They pool birth-level data as reported in female adult retrospective birth histories from all Demographic and Health Surveys collected in sub-Saharan Africa nations. This results in a data set of 639,000 births to 264,000 women in 30 countries. The authors use regression models with flexible controls for temporal trends to assess an infant s likelihood of death as a function of fluctuations in national income. They then apply this estimated likelihood to expected growth shortfalls as a result of the crisis. At current growth projections, their estimates suggest there will be 30,000 - 50,000 excess infant deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of these additional deaths are likely to be poorer children (born to women in rural areas and lower education levels) and are overwhelmingly female. If the crisis continues to worsen the number of deaths may grow much larger, especially those to girls. Policies that protect the income of poor households and that maintain critical health services during times of economic contraction should be considered. Interventions targeted at female infants and young girls may be particularly beneficial.
Publication(MIT Press, 2011-08) Baird, Sarah ; Friedman, Jed ; Schady, NorbertHealth and income are strongly correlated both within and across countries, yet the extent to which improvements in income have a causal effect on health status remains controversial. We investigate whether short-term fluctuations in aggregate income affect infant mortality using an unusually large data set of 1.7 million births in 59 developing countries. We show a large, negative association between per capita GDP and infant mortality. Female infant mortality is more sensitive than male infant mortality to negative economic shocks, suggesting that policies that protect the health status of female infants may be especially important during economic downturns.
Publication(World Bank, 2009-11-30) Filmer, Deon ; Friedman, Jed ; Schady, NorbertDoes the sex composition of existing children in a family affect fertility behavior? An unusually large data set, covering 64 countries and some 5 million births, is used to show that fertility behavior responds to the presence—or absence—of sons in many regions of the developing world. The response to the absence of sons is particularly large in Central Asia and South Asia. Modernization does not appear to reduce this differential response. For example, in South Asia the fertility response to the absence of sons is larger for women with more education and has been increasing over time. The explanation appears to be that a latent demand for sons is more likely to manifest itself when fertility levels are low. As a result of this differential fertility behavior, girls tend to grow up with significantly more siblings than do boys, with potential implications for their well-being when quantity–quality tradeoffs result in fewer material and emotional resources allocated to children in larger families.