Monday, December 12, 2011

Infant Mortality Database

A very important resource for cross country research on early life conditions (and economic development in general) is the following infant mortality database. The authors deserve a huge amount of credit for compiling this important dataset.

Abouharb, M. Rodwan; Kimball, Anessa L.
A new dataset on infant mortality rates, 1816-2002
Source: JOURNAL OF PEACE RESEARCH 44 (6): 743-754


Systematic data on annual infant mortality rates are of use to a variety of social science research programs in demography, economics, sociology, and political science. Infant mortality rates may be used both as a proxy measure for economic development, in lieu of energy consumption or GDP-per-capita measures, and as an indicator of the extent to which governments provide for the economic and social welfare of their citizens. Until recently, data were available for only a limited number of countries based on regional or country-level studies and time periods for years after 1950. Here, the authors introduce a new dataset reporting annual infant mortality rates for all states in the world, based on the Correlates of War state system list between 1816 and 2002. They discuss past research programs using infant mortality rates in conflict studies and describe the dataset by exploring its geographic and temporal coverage. Next, they explain some of the limitations of the dataset as well as issues associated with the data themselves. Finally, they suggest some research areas that might benefit from the use of this dataset. This
new dataset is the most comprehensive source on infant mortality rates currently available to social science researchers.

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