The Effect of Trade Liberalization on Child Mortality and Sex Ratios: Evidence from Rural India

S Anukriti, Columbia University
Todd Kumler, Columbia University

Recent literature on India’s trade liberalization finds that poverty declined at a relatively slower rate in rural districts that were more exposed to tariff reform. Moreover, schooling decreased relatively in districts with employment concentrated in industries losing tariff protection. In this study, we examine whether this trade liberalization episode also influenced infant mortality and sex ratios at birth. Using district-level measures of tariff protection combined with retrospective birth histories, we find that rural districts experiencing relatively larger declines in tariff protection witnessed relatively slower declines in infant mortality as well as relatively slower increases in the sex ratio at birth.

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Presented in Session 111: Interplay of Demographic Change, Public Policy, and Economic Outcomes in LDCs