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How does the health sector benefit from trade openness? Evidence form panel data across sub-Saharan Africa countries.

Novignon, Jacob and Atakorah, Yaw Boateng (2016): How does the health sector benefit from trade openness? Evidence form panel data across sub-Saharan Africa countries.

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Abstract

The linkages between international trade integration and economic performance has received significant attention from both policy makers and researchers. There seem to be consensus in the literature to suggest that improved trade openness corresponds to improved economic growth. A missing link in the literature is how trade openness affects specific sectors of the economy. Here we argue that trade openness has significant impact on population health and health financing. The study employed panel data for forty-two (42) Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries over the period 1995-2013. Population health status was measured by total life expectancy at birth, infant mortality rate and under-five mortality rate. Three main estimation procedures were used; (i) Fixed effect (FE), (ii) Random Effect (RE) and (iii) the Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) models were employed in estimating the relationships. The results showed a positive and significant relationship between trade openness and life expectancy, negative and significant relationship between trade openness and infant mortality rate and negative relationship between trade openness and under-five mortality rate. A positive relationship between trade openness and health financing. The findings of the study support international trade integration across countries in SSA and emphasizes the need for countries to be conscious of gains from trade within sub-sectors of the economy.

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