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Does demographic transition influence development outcomes? An age-cohort analysis of fertility decline and infant mortality in India

Sumit Mazumdar, Indian Institute of Technology Mandi
Hafizur Rahman, Johns Hopkins University

While progressive stages of demographic transition often correlate well with broader development processes, how the constituent demographic processes influence specific development outcomes is yet to be clear. With contemporary demographic transition in India as case-study, this paper examines relative effect of fertility decline on infant mortality. Using state-level age cohorts in a pseudo-panel approach, we test for the hypothesis that fertility decline significantly influences infant survival prospects. Unconditional demand models allow corrections for potential problems of measurement error and endogeneity and incorporate temporal changes in the gradient of influence. Extending the comparative statics of the analytical model, we delineate possible reductions in infant mortality under alternative scenarios of fertility decline. As we find, recent fertility decline in Indian states have significantly, and positively influenced infant survival, with a largely constant effect over the last 15 years. Hence, intensification of fertility reduction efforts can be expected to stimulate early-childhood survival prospects.

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Presented in Poster Session 2