Working Paper
Longevity in Russia's Regions

Do Poverty and Low Public Health Spending Kill?

This paper examines the impact of changes in poverty and public health spending on inter-temporal variations in longevity using a unique regional-level dataset that covers 77 regions of Russia over the period 1994-2000. The dynamic panel data model is used as a tool for the empirical analysis. The model is estimated using the Arellano-Bond dynamic panel data estimator. The changes in regional levels of poverty and real per capita public health expenditure are identified to be significant determinants of the variations observed in longevity over time. The empirical results indicate that while male life expectancy responds more strongly than female life expectancy to economic circumstances, the latter appears to be more predisposed to the influence of public health spending. The results support the idea that the (positive) effect of public health spending on life expectancy is larger for those regions that experience higher incidences of poverty. The paper also finds that the financial crisis which hit Russia at the end of 1998 had a significant negative effect on longevity independently of the factors directly related to poverty and public health spending.