Sibling Death Clustering in India: State Dependence vs. Unobserved Heterogeneity

45 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2006

See all articles by Wiji Arulampalam

Wiji Arulampalam

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sonia R. Bhalotra

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: August 2006

Abstract

Data from a range of different environments indicate that the incidence of death is not randomly distributed across families but, rather, that there is a clustering of death amongst siblings. A natural explanation of this would be that there are (observed or unobserved) differences across families, for example in genetic frailty, education or living standards. Another 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. Drawing language from the literature on the economics of unemployment, the causal effect is referred to here as state dependence (or scarring). This paper investigates the extent of state dependence in India, distinguishing this from family-level risk factors common to siblings. It offers a number of methodological innovations upon previous research. Estimates are obtained for each of three Indian states, which exhibit dramatic differences in socio-economic and demographic variables. The results suggest a significant degree of state dependence in each of the three regions. Eliminating scarring, it is estimated, would reduce the incidence of infant mortality (among children born after the first child) by 9.8% in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 6.0% in West Bengal and 5.9% in Kerala.

Keywords: death clustering, infant mortality, state dependence, scarring, unobserved

JEL Classification: J1, C1, I1, O1

Suggested Citation

Arulampalam, Wiji and Bhalotra, Sonia R., Sibling Death Clustering in India: State Dependence vs. Unobserved Heterogeneity (August 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2251, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=928789 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.928789

Wiji Arulampalam (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
01203 523471 (Phone)
01203 523032 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Sonia R. Bhalotra

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

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