What Explains the Rural-Urban Gap in Infant Mortality - Household or Community Characteristics?

TI Discussion Paper No. 07-067/3

46 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2007

See all articles by Ellen van de Poel

Ellen van de Poel

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)

Owen A. O'Donnell

University of Macedonia

Eddy van Doorslaer

Erasmus School of Economics

Date Written: August 2007

Abstract

The rural-urban gap in infant mortality rates is explained using a new decomposition method that permits identification of the contribution of unobserved heterogeneity at the household and the community level. Using Demographic and Health Survey data for six Francophone countries in Western Sub-Saharan Africa, we find that differences in the distributions of factors that determine mortality - not differences in their effects - explain almost the entire gap. Higher infant mortality rates in rural areas mainly derive from the rural disadvantage in household level characteristics; both observed and unobserved, which explain three-quarters of the gap. Among the observed characteristics, household environmental factors - potable water, electricity and quality of housing materials - are the most important contributors explaining 38% of the gap. Unobserved household level determinants explain 10% of the gap. Community level determinants explain 13% of the gap, including 3% that is due to unobservable community level heterogeneity.

Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, rural-urban inequality, infant mortality, decomposition, unobserved heterogeneity

JEL Classification: I12, I31, O53

Suggested Citation

van de Poel, Ellen and O'Donnell, Owen A. and van Doorslaer, Eddy, What Explains the Rural-Urban Gap in Infant Mortality - Household or Community Characteristics? (August 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1010572 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1010572

Ellen Van de Poel (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Owen A. O'Donnell

University of Macedonia ( email )

156 Egnatia St.
P.O. 1591
Thessaloniki, 54006
Greece

Eddy Van Doorslaer

Erasmus School of Economics ( email )

Netherlands

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
88
Abstract Views
736
rank
287,996
PlumX Metrics