EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The health costs of ethnic distance: evidence from sub-Saharan Africa

Joseph Gomes

Journal of Economic Growth, 2020, vol. 25, issue 2, No 2, 195-226

Abstract: Abstract This paper shows that children of mothers who are ethnically more distant from their neighbours have worse health outcomes. I combine individual-level micro data from DHS surveys for 14 sub-Saharan African countries with a novel high-resolution dataset on the spatial distribution of ethnic groups at the $$1\,\hbox {km} \times 1\,\hbox {km}$$1km×1km level. I measure ethnic distance using linguistic distance and construct the spatial distribution of ethnic groups using an iterative proportional fitting algorithm. Using a time-varying ethnicity fixed effects framework to curb unobserved heterogeneity across ethnic groups, I show that children whose mothers are linguistically more distant from their neighbours face higher mortality rates and are shorter in stature. The pernicious effects of linguistic distance are more pronounced in areas where malaria is endemic. I argue that higher linguistic distance impedes the transmission of information. Consistent with this interpretation, mothers who are linguistically more distant from their neighbours are less likely to receive health-related information. Linguistic distances driven by splits that occurred thousands of years ago are more relevant than more recent splits.

Keywords: Ethnic distance; Ethnic diversity; Ethnic networks; Child mortality; African development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I14 O10 O15 Z10 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10887-020-09177-4 Abstract (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
Working Paper: The Health Costs of Ethnic Distance: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: The Health Costs of Ethnic Distance: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: The Health Costs of Ethnic Distance: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: The health costs of ethnic distance: evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa (2014) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:25:y:2020:i:2:d:10.1007_s10887-020-09177-4

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer. ... th/journal/10887/PS2

DOI: 10.1007/s10887-020-09177-4

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Economic Growth is currently edited by Oded Galor

More articles in Journal of Economic Growth from Springer
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

 
Page updated 2021-03-28
Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:25:y:2020:i:2:d:10.1007_s10887-020-09177-4