Decreasing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Infant Mortality: Evidence from Colombia

Andres Palacio, Lund University

This paper studies why and how infant mortality is related to SES inequalities over time. Using a sample of 43.175 children from DHS data between 1981 and 2010, survival models capture the mechanisms through which SES influence infant mortality over time. The findings indicate that education and income rather than social class are the main drivers behind these inequalities. Both measures work through health habits rather than medical services. Still, nutrition seems to play an important role on its own. On the other hand, the trend of inequality seems to be declining, but the relative risks across educational groups are still strikingly high. Unless we understand better how nutrition (duration of exclusive breastfeeding) relates to both measures of SES, and changes in expansion of health insurance are accompanied with changes in the educational policy, infant mortality in Colombia will not converge to developed-country standards in the near future.

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Presented in Poster Session 2