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Is India experiencing health convergence? An empirical analysis

Sulekha Hembram () and Sushil Haldar ()
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Sulekha Hembram: Muralidhar Girls’ College

Economic Change and Restructuring, 2020, vol. 53, issue 4, No 5, 618 pages

Abstract: Abstract A comprehensive study on health convergence based on beta (β), sigma (σ) and club convergence is attempted here across 26 Indian states over time using NFHS (1–4) data. We formulate an overall health index (OHI) from three sub-health dimensions like child, reproductive and general health based on selected health indicators. The results show that the states are improving in respect of OHI; there exist absolute β convergence in respect of OHI and its sub-dimensions; however, we find σ divergent in respect of OHI and its sub-health dimension indices except child heath index. The club convergence based on kernel density provides a clear picture about stratification, polarization and uni-modal distributions of states in respect of OHI; over time states are converging to a steady state at higher value of OHI, but in the long-run there exists ‘low level health trap’ among five major states like UP, MP, Rajasthan, Bihar and Assam. Except Rajasthan, all the four major states remain at the lower level in respect of sub-health dimensions too. These five major states roughly account for 50% of India’s population, and more than 50% of India’s future demographic dividend will emerge from these major states. Therefore, in order to reap the benefits of demographic return, a major investment in human capital is urgently needed. Such ‘low level health trap’ justifies the ‘big push’ theory to health. This analysis can be applied at the sub-state level for policy intervention.

Keywords: Health inequality; Convergence; Kernel density; Markov process of probability transition; Panel data regression; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C10 C18 C46 I14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10644-020-09269-6

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