Does trade liberalization reduce child mortality in low- and middle-income countries? A synthetic control analysis of 36 policy experiments, 1963-2005
Social Science & Medicine, 2018, vol. 205, issue C, 107-115
Scholars have long argued that trade liberalization leads to lower rates of child mortality in developing countries. Yet current scholarship precludes definitive conclusions about the magnitude and direction of this relationship. Here I analyze the impact of trade liberalization on child mortality in 36 low- and middle-income countries, 1963–2005, using the synthetic control method. I test the hypothesis that trade liberalization leads to lower rates of child mortality, examine whether this association varies between countries and over time, and explore the potentially modifying role of democratic politics, historical context, and geographic location on the magnitude and direction of this relationship. My analysis shows that, on average, trade liberalization had no impact on child mortality in low- and middle-income countries between 1963 and 2005 (Average effect (AE): −0.15%; 95% CI: −2.04%–2.18%). Yet the scale, direction and statistical significance of this association varied markedly, ranging from a ∼20% reduction in child mortality in Uruguay to a ∼20% increase in the Philippines compared with synthetic controls. Trade liberalization was also followed by the largest declines in child mortality in democracies (AE 10-years post reform (AE10): −3.28%), in Latin America (AE10: −4.15%) and in the 1970s (AE10: −6.85%). My findings show that trade liberalization can create an opportunity for reducing rates of child mortality, but its effects cannot be guaranteed. Inclusive and pro-growth contextual factors appear to influence whether trade liberalization actually yields beneficial consequences in developing societies.
Keywords: Trade liberalization; Child mortality; Developing countries; Sustainable Development Goals; Synthetic control (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:socmed:v:205:y:2018:i:c:p:107-115
Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.elsevier. ... _01_ooc_1&version=01
Access Statistics for this article
Social Science & Medicine is currently edited by Ichiro (I.) Kawachi and S.V. (S.V.) Subramanian
More articles in Social Science & Medicine from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().