Longevity gains and the role of conditional cash transfer programs, evaluating Brazil’s experience using a panel of municipalities
In the past decades, longevity has raised in developing countries. Brazil has shown an improvement of 9.21 years between 1991 and 2010. Those extra years of life can be quantified monetarily using the model of Becker et al. (2005). It would be equivalent to R$ 2996.00 (US$ 1693.00) in the yearly income of a typical Brazilian inhabitant. This value corresponds to 50% of the country’s GDP per capita variation in the period 1991-2010. In order to understand the possible sources of the Brazilian longevity improvement, we used a panel of municipalities containing data from the Censuses of 1991, 2000, and 2010. With that, we measure the relationship between Conditional Cash Transfer programs, a poverty eradication policy implemented in Brazil by the late 1990‘s and early 2000‘s, and life expectancy. Using dynamic panel models estimated by Generalized Method of Moments (GMM), CCT programs correspond to 2.9% of the total life expectancy gain of an average Brazilian municipality for the period between 1991 and 2010, and 3.75% for the period 2000-2010.
However, these results are sensitive to the inclusion of population weights in the models. The effect becomes practically null when municipalities are treated proportionally to their populations. When
analyzing child mortality, CCT programs also seem to play a role. The estimation is that 6.6% of the child mortality reduction between 1991 and 2010 and 17.7% between 2000 and 2010 were due to the policy. These results are robust to the inclusion of population weights. Nevertheless, the child mortality models might suffer from instrument endogeneity. Overall, the results show a relationship between CCT programs and both life expectancy improvement and child mortality