Sex-specific child mortality during the Swedish mortality decline: why is SES important for girls only, and food prices for boys only?

Kent Johansson, Lund University

Several historical studies have shown mortality differences between the sexes for Sweden during the mortality transition, but many of them show only small or insignificant differences in both directions, and the results also differ for different age groups. In Johansson (2004), child mortality in southern Sweden was studied for thousands of individuals from four Scanian parishes. The study controlled for sex, but separate regressions for boys and girls show that two of the variables in the mortality model give very different effects: boys respond to changes in food prices while girls don’t, and at the same time the socio-economic (SES) status of the family affects the girls but not the boys. There are at least two possible explanations for this. It could be an effect of how food supply affects the sexes differently biologically, but it is also possible that this is due to that the boys and girls were treated differently within the family.

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Presented in Session 38: Socioeconomic differentials in infant and child health