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The puzzle of Muslim advantage in child survival in India

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  • Bhalotra, Sonia
  • Valente, Christine
  • van Soest, Arthur

Abstract

The socioeconomic status of Indian Muslims is, on average, considerably lower than that of upper-caste Hindus. Muslims nevertheless exhibit substantially higher child survival rates, and have done for decades. This paper analyses this seeming puzzle. A decomposition of the survival differential confirms that some compositional effects favour Muslims but that, overall, differences in characteristics and especially the Muslim deficit in parental education predict a Muslim disadvantage. The results of this study contribute to a recent literature that debates the importance of socioeconomic status (SES) in determining health and survival. They augment a growing literature on the role of religion or culture as encapsulating important unobservable behaviours or endowments that influence health, indeed, enough to reverse the SES gradient that is commonly observed.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 191-204

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:29:y:2010:i:2:p:191-204

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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Keywords: Religion Caste Gender Child survival India;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rebekka Christopoulou & Dean R. Lillard, 2013. "Is Smoking Behavior Culturally Determined? Evidence from British Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 19036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras & Guilhem Cassan & Lackshmi Iyer, . "Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 13/309, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. Soest, A.H.O. van & Saha, U.R., 2012. "Does Family Planning Reduce Infant Mortality? Evidence from Surveillance Data in Matlab, Bangladesh," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2012-019, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Soest, A.H.O. van & Saha, U.R., 2012. "Birth Spacing, Child Survival and Fertility Decisions: Analysis of Causal Mechanismsa," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2012-018, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Mahadevan, Renuka & Suardi, Sandy, 2013. "Is there a role for caste and religion in food security policy? A look at rural India," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 58-69.
  6. Mitrut, Andreea & Wolff, Francois-Charles, 2013. "Investing in children's education: Are Muslim immigrants different?," Working Papers in Economics 575, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

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