Land Use and Infant Mortality: Evidence from Africa

Joyce Shim, Dominican University
Jacob Lesniewski, Dominican University
Kiah Christiansen, Dominican University

This study investigates the relationship between agricultural land use (share of arable land area) and infant mortality (deaths less than age one) in nineteen African countries from 1990 to 2012. Data have been collected from the World Bank. In all models using Generalized Linear Models (GLMs), country and year fixed effects variables as well as country and time interactions are incorporated. In addition, covariates include: (i) GDP per capita; (ii) immunizations for measles; (iii) fertility rate; (iv) female labor force participation; (v) HIV prevalence; (vi) undernourishment rate; (vii) anemia prevalence among pregnant women; and (viii) food production index. Our findings suggest that an increase in land use is predicted to reduce infant mortality; the results are significant throughout all model specifications. After discussing several important research challenges, we conclude with policy implications for a long run plan that may help increase land productivity and reduce infant mortality in African countries.

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Presented in Session 77: Population, Agriculture, Economics, and Nutrition Security