Given many developing economies depend on primary commodities, the fluctuations of commodity prices may imply significant effects for the wellbeing of children. To investigate, this paper examines the relationship between child mortality and commodity price movements as reflected by country-specific commodity terms-of-trade. Employing a panel of 69 low and lower-middle income countries over the period 1970-2010, we show that commodity terms-of-trade volatility increases child mortality in highly commodity-dependent importers suggesting a type of ‘scarce’ resource curse. Strikingly however, good institutions appear able to mitigate the negative impact of volatility. The paper concludes by highlighting this tripartite relationship between child mortality, volatility and good institutions and posits that an effective approach to improving child wellbeing in low to lower-middle income countries will combine hedging, import diversification and improvement of institutional quality.
While a number of studies, based on cross-sectional data for Russia, have documented strong increases in female smoking during the past two decades, the analysis of longer-term trends in smoking prevalence is hampered by the lack of representative data for the Soviet era. In this paper we create life-course smoking histories based on retrospective data from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE (RLMS-HSE) and the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) which allow us to examine the dynamics of smoking patterns over the past 7 decades. We find that smoking rates differ most strongly by gender within all cohorts, but that this differential has decreased over time, driven by increases in female smoking and more recently by decreases in smoking among men. For both genders we observe that the education gradient has become steeper over time, with smoking rates having increased at a higher rate among those with the lowest educational attainment. These findings suggest that the development of smoking in Russia mirrors that described in the model of the tobacco epidemic and observed in Western high-income countries.
Research indicates that women have higher levels of physical disability and depression and lower scores on physical performance tests compared to men, while the evidence for gender differences in self-rated health is equivocal. Scholars note that these patterns may be related to women over-reporting and men under-reporting health problems, but gender differences in reporting behaviors have not been rigorously tested. Using Wave 1 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), the present study investigates the extent to which adjusting for differences in reporting behavior modifies gender differences in general health. We also examine whether men and women's reporting behaviors are consistent across different levels of education. After adjusting for reporting heterogeneity, gender differences in both poor and good health widened. However, we found no clear gender-specific patterns in reporting either poor or good health. Our findings also do not provide convincing evidence that education is an important determinant of general health reporting, although the female disadvantage in poor health and the male advantage in good health were more apparent in lower than higher education groups at all ages. The results challenge prevailing stereotypes that women over-report and men under-report health problems and highlight the importance of attending to health problems reported by women and men with equal care.