Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Democratization and Infant Mortality in sub-Saharan Africa

Five months on after its conception last March, I finally finished writing up a paper on the empirical investigation of democratization and infant mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. A quick summary is:

Infant mortality has declined since democratization in countries where a new chief executive assumes office by winning the first multiparty election. This is especially true for babies born to uneducated mothers.
Note that I do not claim that democratization has caused the decline in infant mortality, because I cannot rule out the possibility that something else drives both democratization and the survival of babies. (It could be, for example, just NGOs, as a reader of this blog commented on this post. But I wonder if NGOs can make a country-wide difference. Maybe. Maybe not.) But, for babies born to uneducated mothers, a trend in infant mortality definitely changes right after the year of democratization. Plus, the usage of piped water and flush toilet and the take-up rate of immunization and delivery assistance by health professionals seems to have expanded for uneducated mothers since democratization. So it can be democratization that drives infant mortality down.

Now I'm in the process of letting people read this paper and expecting to receive reactions and comments. If you want to join this process :-), here you can download the paper.

If you are not an economist but a political scientist or an Africanist, please have a look at sections 2, 3.2, 6, 8, and perhaps A.1 and A.2. If you are a public health researcher, a demographer, or a medical expert, please have a look at the second half of section 2, and section 7. This is because I rely on not only the previous works done by economists but also on those by political scientists, Africanists, and public health researchers. I want to know if I correctly interpret their research outputs.

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