Inequality of opportunity in infant mortality in South Asia: A decomposition analysis of survival data

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Abstract

Early-life environments into which newborn babies are born play principal roles in their development. This study explores inequalities in infant mortality that are rooted in household and parental socio-economic backgrounds in five South-Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Considering multidimensional aspects of socio-demographic and socio-economic status, this study explores disparities in the trajectory of survival rates across infants with dissimilar circumstantial backgrounds over the first 12 months of their lives. This study proposes a new method to first cluster the data into advantaged and disadvantaged types and explore the differences in survival rates by a clustering approach and a random survival forest. Furthermore, this study extends a Shapley-value decomposition method to explore the determinants of inequality. The results indicate that demographic factors, parental educational background and household living standards are major factors contributing to inequality. In order to ameliorate the inequality of opportunity, priority should be given to protecting marginalised infants by compensating for their disadvantaged backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101058
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Volume43
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Clustering
  • Inequality of opportunity
  • Infant mortality
  • Random survival forest
  • South Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

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