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Infant Death Clustering in India: Genuine Scarring vs Unobserved Heterogeneity

By Wiji Arulampalam and Sonia Bhalotra


Data from a range of different environments indicate that the incidence of death is not randomly distributed across children or households but, rather, that there is death clustering within households. A hypothesis of considerable interest for both theory and policy is that there is a causal process whereby the death of a child influences the risk of death of the succeeding child in the family. This causal effect which, drawing language from the literature on unemployment, we term scarring or genuine state dependence tends to be confounded with both observable and unobservable inter-family heterogeneity. In this paper, we investigate the extent of genuine scarring in three Indian states, controlling for these confounding factors. The paper offers a number of methodological innovations upon previous research in the area and, thereby, offers what we expect are more robust estimates of the scarring effect.

Topics: Death clustering, state dependence, unobserved heterogeneity, random effects probit (logit, dynamic model
Year: 2003
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