Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Neonatal Death in India: The Effect of Birth Order in a Context of Maternal Under-nutrition

Dean Spears
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Texas, Austin
Friday, February 23, 2018 - 12:00
Center for the Advanced Study of India 3600 Market Street, Suite 560 (5th floor) University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104

About the Speaker:
Dean Spears is an economic demographer and development economist. He is Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Texas, Austin, a Visiting Economist at the Economics and Planning Unit of the Indian Statistical Institute in Delhi, a founding Executive Director of r.i.c.e., and an affiliate of the Climate Futures Initiative at Princeton University. Along with Diane Coffey (Assistant Professor, UT, Austin), he is the author of the award-winning book, Where India Goes: Abandoned Toilets, Stunted Development, and the Costs of Caste.

About the Lecture:
Based on his collaborations with Diane Coffey, Dr. Spears documents a novel fact about neonatal death, or death in the first month of life: globally, neonatal mortality (NNM) is disproportionately concentrated in India. He identifies an effect of birth order on NNM that is unique to India—later-born siblings have a steep survival advantage relative to the birth order gradient in other developing countries—and shows that India's high prevalence of maternal under-nutrition and its correlation with age and childbearing can explain this effect, as well as how Indian mothers exit the underweight body mass range at an internationally comparatively high rate as they progress through childbearing careers.