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Shedding Light on Maternal Education and Child Health in Developing Countries

Le, Kien and Nguyen, My (2019): Shedding Light on Maternal Education and Child Health in Developing Countries.

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Abstract

This paper investigates the intergenerational effects of maternal education on child health in 68 developing countries across five continents over nearly three decades. Exploiting the between-sisters variation in the educational attainment of the mothers, we find that mother’s education is positively associated with child health measured by the three most commonly used indices, namely height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age. Our mechanism analyses further show that these favorable effects could be, at least in part, attributed to fertility behavior, assortative matching, health care utilization, access to information, health knowledge, and labor market outcome. Given the long-lasting impacts of early-life health over the life cycle, our findings underline the importance of maternal education in improving economic and social conditions in developing countries.

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