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World Bank, Washington, DC
Middle East and North Africa | Middle East | North Africa | Angola | Congo, Republic of | Nigeria
2017-05-24T16:56:16Z | 2017-05-24T16:56:16Z | 2017-05

Progress in child mortality reduction and education attainment varies widely among oil-rich countries. This paper investigates the causes of this variation using an empirical model that departs from the available literature in allowing for explicit measurement of the impact of initial levels of child mortality and education attainment. The results show that the following four variables are statistically significant and robust across various specifications: public spending on health and education, economic growth rates, caloric sufficiency, and initial levels of child mortality and education attainment. Further analysis was conducted to determine the economic significance of these factors by examining the contribution of each to the fitted growth rates (as a deviation from the sample mean) of child mortality and secondary school enrollment for 14 oil-rich developing countries. The analysis reveals some interesting patterns. First, initial conditions dominate the results for education attainment: the initial level of secondary school enrollment in 1980 is the dominant factor in explaining subsequent improvements in 10 of the 14 oil-rich developing countries for which calculations could be performed. Second, policy factors worked in different ways in different countries. A high degree of caloric sufficiency enabled countries in the Middle East and North Africa to reduce child mortality faster, while low levels of caloric sufficiency prevented African oil-rich countries, such as Angola and the Republic of Congo, from making progress. Third, levels of public spending were not economically critical for gains in school enrollment, although they were important in a few country cases for improvements in child mortality rates.


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