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Caste Differentials in Death Clustering in Central and Eastern Indian States
Authors: Ranjan M, Dwivedi LK, and Mishra R
Source: Journal of Biosocial Science, page 1-21;. doi: 10.1017/S0021932017000219
Topic(s): Inequality
Mortality
Country: Asia
  India
Published: JUN 2017
Abstract: This study assessed caste differentials in family-level death clustering, linked survival prospects of siblings (scarring) and mother-level unobserved heterogeneity affecting infant mortality risk in the central and eastern Indian states of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Family-level infant death clustering was examined using bivariate analysis, and the linkages between the survival prospects of siblings and mother-specific unobserved heterogeneity were captured by applying a random effects logit model in the selected Indian states using micro-data from the National Family Health Survey-III (2005-06). The raw data clustering analysis showed the existence of clustering in all four states and among all caste groups with the highest clustering found in the Scheduled Castes of Jharkhand. The important factor from the model that increased the risk of infant deaths in all four states was the causal effect of a previous infant death on the risk of infant death of the subsequent sibling, after controlling for mother-level heterogeneity and unobserved factors. The results show that among the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, infant death clustering is mainly affected by the scarring factor in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, while mother-level unobserved factors were important in Odisha and both (scarring and mother-level unobserved factors) were key factors in Chhattisgarh. Similarly, the Other Caste Group was mainly influenced by the scarring factor only in Odisha, mother-level unobserved factors in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and both (scarring and mother-level unobserved factors) in Madhya Pradesh. From a government policy perspective, these results would help in identifying high-risk clusters of women among all caste groups in the four central and eastern Indian states that should be targeted to address maternal and child health related indicators.