Infant Mortality in the World-System

Authors: Frey, R. Scott; Cui, Wanjun
Almanac: Globalistics and Globalization Studies Global Evolution, Historical Globalistics and Globalization Studies

Results of a study of the cross-national determinants of the 2005 infant mortality rate for fifty-nine low and middle-income countries are reported here. We examined the empirical validity of four macro-social change theories: gender stratification theory, modernization theory, dependency/world-systems theory, and developmental state theory. We found strong support for gender stratification theory: female education had a negative effect on infant mortality. Support was also found for modernization theory: as industrialization increased, the infant mortality rate decreased. No support was found for developmental state theory and dependency/world-system theory. Several control variables were examined, but only Sub-Saharan Africa status proved to be an important predictor: Sub-Saharan African countries had a significantly higher infant mortality rate than their non-Sub-Saharan African counterparts. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are briefly discussed.

Keywords: infant mortality rate, gender inequality, Sub-Saharan African status, industrialization, world-system.