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Should we increase average income, or the poor’s income to reduce infant and child mortality?

Johan Rewilak

Journal of Economic Studies, 2020, vol. 48, issue 2, 392-412

Abstract: Purpose - This article examines whether increasing the income of the poor – measured as the income of the lowest quintile – is more beneficial in reducing infant and child mortality rates compared with increases in average income. Given the global importance in reducing infant mortality, the value of this research is important to academics, policymakers and practitioners alike. Design/methodology/approach - Using a sample of 86 countries from 1995–2014 inclusive, our preferred estimation strategy uses an instrumental variable fixed-effects estimator. Findings - Our results propose that the elasticity of the income of the lowest quintile never exceeds that of average income. Therefore, if reducing infant and child mortality is a key policy goal, then boosting average income may be preferable to raising incomes at the lower end of the distribution. Originality/value - Given these findings, we open a gateway for new literature to add to this unexplored area of research in the income and health relationship.

Keywords: Mobile money; Infant mortality; M-Pesa; Child mortality; Income of the poor (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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