Graph/Table of the Week: Infant Mortality and Health Spending in Africa

Figure below is from Léonce Ndikumana and James Boyce’s Africa’s Odious Debt, and shows the relation between public health expenditures and infant mortality in 33 countries in the 2005-7 period.

ndikumana-boyceThe regression coefficient is -0.26, meaning that an increase in 1% in spending reduces infant mortality by 0.26%. The argument in the book suggests that to the extent that resources are used to paying for external debt, then debt service is bad for health outcomes.