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Does Debt Relief Improve Child Health? : Evidence from Cross-Country Micro Data

Welander, Anna LU (2016) In Policy Research Working Paper Series
Abstract
This paper analyzes the effects of a multilateral debt relief program on child health. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank launched the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in the late 1990s to reduce the debt burdens of poor countries, and explicitly linked the initiative to the aim of poverty reduction and social targets. As a result, debt-servicing costs have gone down by an average 1.8 percentage points of gross domestic product in Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. However, the social effects of debt relief are not well known. The paper employs micro data on infant mortality from 56 country-specific Demographic and Health Surveys to investigate the effects of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative on child... (More)
This paper analyzes the effects of a multilateral debt relief program on child health. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank launched the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in the late 1990s to reduce the debt burdens of poor countries, and explicitly linked the initiative to the aim of poverty reduction and social targets. As a result, debt-servicing costs have gone down by an average 1.8 percentage points of gross domestic product in Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. However, the social effects of debt relief are not well known. The paper employs micro data on infant mortality from 56 country-specific Demographic and Health Surveys to investigate the effects of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative on child health. The retrospective fertility structure of the data allows for analysis using the within-mother variation in the probability of survival of babies before and after different stages of the initiative. The results suggest that after a debt-ridden country enters the program, which is conditional on reform and pro-development policies, and receives interim debt relief, the probability of infant mortality goes down by about 0.5 percentage point. This translates into about 3,000 fewer infant deaths in an average Heavily Indebted Poor Country. The findings are particularly strong for infants born to poor mothers and mothers living in rural areas, and are driven by access to vaccines early in life and during pregnancy. There are no child health effects from graduating from the program and receiving full debt relief. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
debt relief, Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, child health, demographic and health surveys
in
Policy Research Working Paper Series
issue
7872
pages
41 pages
publisher
The World Bank: Washington DC
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
eaf5d6d8-194e-4487-af61-f10f979091ba
alternative location
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/269331477322770213/Does-debt-relief-improve-child-health-evidence-from-cross-country-micro-data
http://swopec.hhs.se/lunewp/abs/lunewp2016_029.htm
date added to LUP
2016-10-25 16:56:06
date last changed
2016-12-28 09:33:33
@misc{eaf5d6d8-194e-4487-af61-f10f979091ba,
  abstract     = {This paper analyzes the effects of a multilateral debt relief program on child health. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank launched the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in the late 1990s to reduce the debt burdens of poor countries, and explicitly linked the initiative to the aim of poverty reduction and social targets. As a result, debt-servicing costs have gone down by an average 1.8 percentage points of gross domestic product in Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. However, the social effects of debt relief are not well known. The paper employs micro data on infant mortality from 56 country-specific Demographic and Health Surveys to investigate the effects of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative on child health. The retrospective fertility structure of the data allows for analysis using the within-mother variation in the probability of survival of babies before and after different stages of the initiative. The results suggest that after a debt-ridden country enters the program, which is conditional on reform and pro-development policies, and receives interim debt relief, the probability of infant mortality goes down by about 0.5 percentage point. This translates into about 3,000 fewer infant deaths in an average Heavily Indebted Poor Country. The findings are particularly strong for infants born to poor mothers and mothers living in rural areas, and are driven by access to vaccines early in life and during pregnancy. There are no child health effects from graduating from the program and receiving full debt relief.},
  author       = {Welander, Anna},
  keyword      = {debt relief,Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative,child health,demographic and health surveys},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {7872},
  pages        = {41},
  publisher    = {The World Bank: Washington DC},
  series       = {Policy Research Working Paper Series},
  title        = {Does Debt Relief Improve Child Health? : Evidence from Cross-Country Micro Data},
  year         = {2016},
}