Social Indicators Research

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 257–288

Accounting for Cross-National Differences in Infant Mortality Decline (1965–1991) among less Developed Countries: Effects of Women's Status, Economic Dependency, and State Strength

  • Ce Shen
  • John B. Williamson

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007190612314

Cite this article as:
Shen, C. & Williamson, J.B. Social Indicators Research (2001) 53: 257. doi:10.1023/A:1007190612314


The present study tests models derived from four theoretical perspectives: Modernization/free trade theory, gender inequality theory, developmental state theory, and dependency theory. It is based on a sample of 82 less developed countries for the period from 1965 to 1991. We find some support for each theoretical perspective. Foreign trade, investment, and debt dependency have adverse effects on infant mortality, mediated by variables linked to modernization/free trade theory and gender inequality theory. State strength has a beneficial direct effect on infant mortality decline. Women's education and reproductive autonomy have significant direct effects, but also play important roles as mediating variables as does rate of economic growth.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ce Shen
    • 1
  • John B. Williamson
    • 2
  1. 1.International Study Center, Lynch School of EducationChestnut HillUSA
  2. 2.Sociology DepartmentBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

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