Intergenerational Persistence in Child Mortality
We study the intergenerational persistence of inequality by estimating grandmother-mother associations in the loss of a child, using pooled data from 119 Demographic and Health Surveys in 44 developing countries. Compared with compatriots of the same age, women with at least one sibling who died in childhood face 39% higher odds of having experienced at least one own-child death, or 7 percentage points at age 49. Place fixed effects reduce estimated mortality persistence by 47%; socioeconomic covariates explain far less. Within countries over time, persistence falls with aggregate child mortality, so that mortality decline disproportionately benefits high-mortality lineages.
Eric Chu provided expert research assistance. We thank Harold Alderman, Prashant Bharadwaj, Cameron Campbell, Paul Niehaus, Paul Novosad, Rohini Pande, and three anonymous referees, as well as audiences at Brown, IFPRI, PAA, PacDev, Pantheon-Sorbonne, UCSD, and UWA for comments. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for Frances Lu under Grant No. DGE-2038238. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.