Purpose: This study investigates if wealth from natural resources impacts child health in developing countries. Design/methodology/approach: The methodology includes testing the effect of rents from natural resources on under-five mortality rates using a multifactor health production model for 57 developing nations. The panel estimation procedure was applied to data covering 2002 to 2017, disaggregated by non-renewable and renewable resources and low and medium human development countries. Findings: The results provide strong evidence that wealth from total natural resources has not been associated with reductions in under-five mortality rates. However, disaggregation of the sample countries by natural resource constituents revealed that only the wealth of non-renewable is strongly inversely associated with under-five mortality rates. Further disaggregation of countries by the low and medium human development constituents revealed a statistically insignificant negative correlation of non-renewable resources wealth and under-five mortality in the low human development countries. In contrast, the results of the medium human development countries revealed that wealth from natural resources (both non-renewable and renewable) had not been associated with any reductions in under-five mortality rates. The results also confirm that immunization levels, nutrition, private spending on health care, air quality, urban living and countries closer to the equator are other strong correlates of under-five mortality rates in low human development countries. Social implications: The findings here have implications for the timely achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 (to reduce under-five deaths to around 25 per 1,000 live births by 2030). Governments ought to ensure that incomes from the extractive sector are aligned in forms that promote and feed into improving child health wellbeing. Originality/value: This research creates a shift from aggregate health wellbeing research agenda to investigate how specific aspects of human development can be linked to wealth from non-renewable and renewable natural resources in developing nations. It adds new knowledge and provides health and natural resources policymakers opportunities to combine their policies and synergize efforts to improve child health outcomes.
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