Graduation Year




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Gabriel A. Picone, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Murat K. Munkin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Getachew A. Dagne, Ph.D.


Africa, Applied Microeconomics, Cesarean Section, Child Mortality, Debt Relief, Food Security


Sub-Saharan Africa faces a number of development challenges. This dissertation examines three health and development issues in Sub-Saharan Africa. It analyzes the impact of policy changes and interventions on child mortality, household food consumption and cesarean section births. The study is motivated by the Millennium Development Goals and policies which could affect their achievement. In the first essay, I investigate the impact of debt relief on under-five mortality rate. A dynamic panel data estimator is employed in the analysis. The results show that participation in the Highly Indebted Poor Countries(HIPC) Initiative is associated with a statistically significant reduction in under-five mortality rate.I conclude that conditionality of debt relief or development aid can improve health outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa. The second essay examines the impact of private hospitals on the likelihood of cesarean section births in Uganda. The study is motivated by the increase in cesarean section births following proliferation of private hospitals and clinics. A theoretical model is developed, and it predicts that, information asymmetry , household wealth ,and severity of medical condition during childbirth increase the likelihood of cesarean section. In the empirical analysis, the main method of estimation used is a bivariate probit model. The results show that delivery at private hospitals increases the probability of cesarean section births. Thus, there is need to monitor private hospitals so that expectant mothers are protected from physician induced-demand for avoidable cesarean section births.The third essay studies the impact of agricultural extension services on household food consumption in Uganda. The study exploits the variation in participation in the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) to estimate the impact of the program on household food consumption. The results show that NAADS group membership and training are associated with increase in household food consumption. Hence, agricultural extension service can be used to reduce food insecurity. Policy recommendation and future studies are explored.

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