Measurement of a Country's Health: Can We Depend on Reported Values of the Infant Mortality Rate?
43 Pages Posted: 28 May 2014 Last revised: 8 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 5, 2015
Economists often rely on the infant mortality rate as an indicator of a country's health. Despite arguments about its relevance, uniform measurement of infant mortality is necessary. Using important socioeconomic indicators, we develop a method to adjust country-specific reported infant mortality figures that may misrepresent development within a country. We conclude that an "augmented" measure of mortality that includes both infant and late fetal deaths should be considered when assessing levels of social welfare in a country. Also, mortality statistics that exhibit a substantially high ratio of late fetal to early neonatal deaths should be more closely scrutinized.
Keywords: health measurement, infant mortality rate, socioeconomic development
JEL Classification: I15, I18, J13, O57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation