The Cuban Revolution and Infant Mortality: A Synthetic Control Approach
29 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2018 Last revised: 28 Oct 2018
Date Written: October 26, 2018
The Cuban government often vaunts its accomplishment of a low infant mortality rate post 1959. However, because many Latin American countries experienced similar decreases, and because Cuba has historically enjoyed lower infant mortality rates than the rest of the sub-continent, it is unclear that this effect is government-induced. We use the fact that Cuba underwent momentous and unique political change to consider the legacy of the Fidel Castro regime on infant mortality. We employ a synthetic control method to ascertain the reduction attributable to the regime. We find that in the first years of the regime, infant mortality increased relative to the counterfactual but that---after the introduction of Soviet foreign aid---infant mortality partially reverted to trend. To measure the effects of the subsidies, we run a second synthetic control when the collapse of the Soviet Union ended the subsidies. This second synthetic control allows us to assert that the subsidies played no important role.
Keywords: Infant Mortality, Cuba, Castro Regime, Health Economics
JEL Classification: H51, I10, I18, N36
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation