How the New International Goal for Child Mortality is Unfair to Africa (Again)

31 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2015

See all articles by Simon Lange

Simon Lange

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Stephan Klasen

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: June 1, 2015

Abstract

Despite unprecedented progress towards lower under-five mortality in high-mortality countries in recent years, a large fraction of these countries will not attain the numerical target under Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4, a reduction of the mortality rate by two-thirds compared to levels in 1990. Nevertheless, many stakeholders have argued that the post-2015 agenda should contain a level-end goal for under-five mortality and recent accelerations in the rate of reduction in under-five mortality have been cited as a cause for optimism. We argue in this paper that one key fact about relative changes in mortality rates is a lack of persistence. We find robust evidence for substantial mean reversion in the data. Hence, recent accelerations observed for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are an overly optimistic estimate of future reductions. At the same time, progress as required by the old MDG4 coincides very much with our projections for Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. Thus, while MDG4 has been rightly criticized as overly ambitious and unfair to Africa for the 1990-2015 period, such a goal seems more appropriate for the 2005-2030 period. We also offer a discussion of likely drivers of future reductions in child deaths.

Keywords: MDGs, SDGs, under-five mortality, Africa

JEL Classification: I15, I18, J11, J18, O21

Suggested Citation

Lange, Simon and Klasen, Stephan, How the New International Goal for Child Mortality is Unfair to Africa (Again) (June 1, 2015). Center for Global Development Working Paper No. 407. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2623144 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2623144

Simon Lange

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Stephan Klasen (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany
+49-551-397303 (Phone)
+49-551-397302 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: www.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/klasen.html

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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