A Bayesian Econometric Approach to Specify the Determinants of Health Status in Developing Countries

Document Type : Research Paper



Health status is one of the main prerequisites of social welfare systems. In other words, good health status is one of the main components of the welfare and development of any society. A prerequisite for effective actions in order to improve key indicators of health status is to know the determinants which have effects on health indicators from either inside or outside of the health system.Among the possible variables influence health status, income, health inputs (such as health expenditure, the number of physician, etc.), and human (educational) capital are of the factors whose effects on health status are confirmed by a lot of studies. Accordingly, using a Bayesian Econometrics Approach and applying Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA), this study has investigated the effects of the mentioned variables on under-5 mortality (as one of the most important indicators of health status) in 60 developing countries during the period 1978-2008.The results show that in the long-run, total literacy rate and income per capita have negative and significant effects on under-5 mortality rate in the mentioned countries. According to the results, it can be also said that health input indicators have some paradoxical effects on health status. Such that public health expenditure has significantly positive effect on under-5 mortality, while total health expenditure has an insignificant positive effect on children mortality. Some other factors, such as military expenditure (% of GDP), age dependency rate, and industry value added (annual % growth) have substantial impacts on health status.