Explaining the Decline of Child Mortality in 44 Developing Countries: A Bayesian Extension of Oaxaca Decomposition Methods
We investigate the decline of infant mortality in 42 low and middle income countries (LMIC) using detailed micro data from 84 Demographic and Health Surveys. We estimate infant mortality risk for each infant in our data and develop a novel extension of Oaxaca decomposition to understand the sources of these changes. We find that the decline in infant mortality is due to a declining propensity for parents with given characteristics to experience the death of an infant rather than due to changes in the distributions of these characteristics over time. Our results suggest that technical progress and policy health interventions in the form of public goods are the main drivers of the the recent decline in infant mortality in LMIC.