Abstract: The global burden of child mortality represents one of the most critical development challenges facing low- and middle-income countries today. In 2018, UNICEF reported that over 80% of child deaths happened in the first five years of life regardless of mortality level. Since 1990, under-five child mortality rates have declined at a steady pace, reaching a global average of 57 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015, which is still above the targets set under Millennium Development Goal 4 to reduce child mortality globally by two-thirds. The aim of this paper is to explain variation in under-five child mortality within low- and middle-income countries from 2000-2015, with a focus on two key variables that measure policy commitment: ratification of the ILO Maternity Convention 2000 and explicit protection of the right to food. Using a panel regression analysis, I find that countries that do not protect the right to food in their constitutions have child mortality rates that are on average 4 deaths per 1,000 live births higher than in countries with such protections. Income, official development assistance, urbanization, domestic health expenditure, armed conflict, female literacy, malnutrition and immunization are also found to be significant predictors of child mortality. The findings indicate the need for further research on how to better understand the relationship between food security policies and child mortality.
Paper presented at the AU Tri-School Conference, 21st February 2020
Paper accepted for the Second International Workshop on Public Policy (IWPP2), originally scheduled to be held in Quito, Ecuador in July 2020 (cancelled due to COVID-19)
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