Global Infant Mortality: Correcting for Undercounting

Duke University, NC, USA
World Development (Impact Factor: 1.73). 04/2010; 38(4):467-481. DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2009.11.013
Source: RePEc


Summary The UN Millennium Development Goals highlight the infant mortality rate (IMR) as a measure of progress in improving neonatal health and more broadly as an indicator of basic health care. However, prior research has shown that IMRs (and in particular perinatal mortality) can be underestimated dramatically, depending on a particular country's live birth criterion, vital registration system, and reporting practices. This study assesses infant mortality undercounting for a global dataset using an approach popularized in productivity economics. Using a one-sided error, frontier estimation technique, we recalculate rates and concurrently derive a measure of likely undercount for each country.

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Available from: Charles M Becker
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    • "positive truncations of a normal distribution with unknown mean (m) and variance (var-u). Anthopolos and Becker (2010) assume that " u " has a half-normal distribution which restricts " m " to be equal to zero and nested within the more general truncated normal. As theory provides no guidance as to what the underlying density function of IMR underreporting might be, we examine both half-normal and a more generalized truncated normal distribution. "
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    ABSTRACT: Regional Chinese infant mortality rates (IMRs) are examined using a stochastic frontier method for the first time. The composite error term method yields estimates of large underreporting of IMRs over time and provinces in China during the past 30 years. China does not follow the standard growth paradigm of more growth leading to lower IMRs. Fiscal decentralization has not alleviated the problem of high IMRs. Both IMRs and the sex ratio at birth suggest reported data constitute a floor or minimal level of demographic distress across provinces with millions of missing females not fully included in the data. China's one-child policy leads to not only underreporting by families but also reporting abuse by local officials who want to be promoted. The hukou system and unbalanced government development policies exacerbate the issue.
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    • "However, IMR is often a problematic measure. IMR is often under reported, especially in poorer countries, because infant deaths are less likely to be reported (Anthopolos and Becker, 2010). For example, Gonzalez (2014) reports that IMR is substantially under-counted in Cuba. "
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