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Estimated economic benefits of reducing low birth weight in low-income countries (English)

The paper reviews the evidence on the link between low birth weight (LBW) and health outcomes and economic productivity. The overall benefits depend both on the economic environment and the manner in which future streams of income are discounted. Thus, the sensitivities of the overall estimates to different discount rates and to different assumptions about each of the component estimates are explored. Under plausible assumptions for low income countries, the economic benefits from reducing LBW are fairly substantial, on the order of magnitude of about $580 per infant moved from the LBW to non LBW category. Varying the assumptions used will affect the total as well as the relative share of the seven categories, but under most assumptions the benefits far exceed the costs of known interventions.


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    Alderman, Harold, Behrman, Jere R.

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    Working Paper

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    The World Region,

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    Estimated economic benefits of reducing low birth weight in low-income countries

  • Keywords

    birth weight;discount rate;resource cost;Infant Mortality;United States Department of Agriculture;cost of health care;millennium development goal;marginal rate of return;cost of medical care;Learning and Innovation Credit;impact on productivity;marginal resource cost;returns to schooling;coronary heart disease;cognitive development;neonatal mortality;productivity gain;schooling attainment;health care service;maternal nutritional status;increase in height;body mass index;high risk factors;effect of alcohol;share of children;acute respiratory disease;stages of life;High Blood Pressure;health of mothers;number of births;infant mortality rate;obstructive lung disease;years of schooling;iron deficiency anemia;urinary tract infection;length of stay;medical care cost;decrease mortality;risk of death;fixed effect model;poverty reduction effort;department of economics;increase in labor;real discount rate;standard deviation;Cardiovascular Disease;increased morbidity;



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Alderman, Harold Behrman, Jere R.

Estimated economic benefits of reducing low birth weight in low-income countries (English). HNP discussion paper Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.