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Maternal Literacy and Child Malnutrition in India

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  • Borooah, Vani

Abstract

This study uses unit-record data on over 50,000 rural children, from the sixteen major states of India, to analyse the determinants of the risks of severe stunting and of being severely underweight. The importance of this study derives from the fact that the prevalence of under-nourishment in India is, even relative to other poor countries, shockingly high. The study focuses on the role of maternal literacy in reducing the risk of child malnourishment. It concludes that when the mother is literate, real benefits flow to children in terms of reduced risk; the same benefits, however, do not flow when the father, but not the mother, is literate. Literate mothers make more effective use of health-care institutions, like anganwadis and hospitals. Consequently, the benefits to children from expanding the supply of such institutions are greater when these institutions interact with mothers who are literate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 19833.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:19833

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Keywords: Malnutrition; Maternal Literacy; Bivariate Probit Model;

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  1. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon & Jeemol Unni, 2001. "Education and Women's Labour Market Outcomes in India," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 173-195.
  2. Vani Borooah, 2000. "The Welfare of Children in Central India: Econometric Analysis and Policy Simulation," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 263-287.
  3. Behrman, Jere R & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1984. "The Socioeconomic Impact of Schooling in a Developing Country," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(2), pages 296-303, May.
  4. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John, 1992. "Prices, infrastructure, household characteristics and child height," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 301-331, October.
  5. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, . "Technical Change and Human Capital Returns and Investments: Evidence from the Green Revolution," Home Pages _065, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Basu, Kaushik & Foster, James E., 1998. "On measuring literacy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1997, The World Bank.
  7. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C158-75, March.
  8. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 1999. "Explaining child malnutrition in developing countries," FCND discussion papers 60, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Lavy, Victor & Strauss, John & Thomas, Duncan & de Vreyer, Philippe, 1996. "Quality of health care, survival and health outcomes in Ghana," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 333-357, June.
  10. Gibson, John, 2001. "Literacy and Intrahousehold Externalities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 155-166, January.
  11. Borooah, Vani, 2003. "Births, Infants and Children: an Econometric Portrait of Women and Children in India," MPRA Paper 19620, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Caldwell, John C., 1993. "Health transition: The cultural, social and behavioural determinants of health in the Third World," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 125-135, January.
  13. Duncan Thomas & John Strauss & Maria-Helena Henriques, 1991. "How Does Mother's Education Affect Child Height?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 183-211.
  14. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
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