Birth-spacing, fertility and neonatal mortality in India: Dynamics, frailty, and fecundity


Using microdata on 30,000 childbirths in India and dynamic panel data models, we analyse causal effects of birth-spacing on subsequent neonatal mortality and of mortality on subsequent birth intervals, controlling for unobserved heterogeneity. Right censoring is accounted for by jointly estimating a fertility equation, identified by using data on sterilization. We find evidence of frailty, fecundity, and causal effects in both directions. Birth intervals explain only a limited share of the correlation between neonatal mortality of successive children in a family. We predict that for every neonatal death, 0.37 additional children are born, of whom 0.30 survive.


Journal of Econometrics (2008) 143 (2) 274-290 [doi: 10.1016/j.jeconom.2007.10.005]

Published 1 January 2008