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Achieving the Millennium Development Goals

Danny Leipziger, Marianne Fay, Quentin Wodon and Tito Yepes

November 2003

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This paper provides an empirical analysis of the determinants of three child health outcomes related to the Millennium Development Goals: the infant mortality rate, the child mortality rate, and the prevalence of malnutrition. Using data from Demographic and Health Surveys, the paper goes beyond traditional cross-country regressions by exploiting the variability in outcomes and explanatory variables observed within countries between asset quintiles. The paper shows the relationships existing between the prevalence of diseases (diarrhea and malnutrition) and mortality. The findings suggest that apart from traditional variables (income, assets, education and direct health interventions), better access to basic infrastructure services has an important role to play in improving child health outcomes. The analysis of interaction effects between interventions also suggests the importance of combining interventions in order to meet the Millenium Development Goals.

JEL categories: I12, O10, H42

Keywords: Millennium Development Goals, Infant mortality, Malnutrition, Infrastructure

World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3163, November 2003

The Policy Research Working Paper Series disseminates the findings of work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development issues. An objective of the series is to get the findings out quickly, even if the presentations are less than fully polished. The papers carry the names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the view of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries they represent. Policy Research Working Papers are available online at

Corresponding author:
Marianne Fay
World Bank, 1818 H Street
Washington, DC 20433

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