Saving the Next Generation: Political Capacity and Infant Mortality Decline in India's States.

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    • Abstract:
      National political development and its effect on economic and demographic changes are topics extensively addressed by power transition theory. Studies in political demography demonstrate that the political capacity of national governments plays a critical role in altering mortality and fertility patterns in developing nations. We test the effects of political capacity on infant mortality rates in fifteen Indian states in the period 1981 to 2000. We find that the political capacity of a state government lowers infant mortality in the low and middle income states. This effect gets weaker across higher income levels. We also find that the wealthier states tend to be healthier. Female education exerts a negative effect on infant mortality within urban populations but its effects diminish in rural populations. A key implication of our study is that the politically capable states in India are positioned to complete the demographic transition and are likely to emerge as the regional drivers of economic growth. Sustained gains in economic productivity will eventually determine India's role in world politics in the twenty-first century. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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