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Religion and Health in Early Childhood: Evidence from the Indian Subcontinent

Author

Listed:
  • Elizabeth Brainerd

    () (Economics Department, Brandeis University)

  • Nidhiya Menon

    () (Economics Department, Brandeis University)

Abstract

This paper studies early childhood health in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, focusing on inequalities in anthropometric outcomes by religious adherence. India and Nepal have Hindu majorities, while Bangladesh is predominantly Muslim. Results confirm a relative Muslim advantage for children less than 12 months of age in height-for-age and weight-for-age z scores primarily in India, possibly reflecting better nutritional intake from a non-vegetarian diet and the positive health endowment of Muslim women who tend to be taller than Hindu women. However this advantage disappears beyond 12 months of age, at which point Hindu children in all three countries are found to have significantly better anthropometric outcomes than Muslim children. We report tests that rule out mortality selection and undertake falsification and robustness exercises to affirm these findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Brainerd & Nidhiya Menon, 2013. "Religion and Health in Early Childhood: Evidence from the Indian Subcontinent," Working Papers 65, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
  • Handle: RePEc:brd:wpaper:65
    as

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    File URL: http://www.brandeis.edu/economics/RePEc/brd/doc/Brandeis_WP65.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/692114 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Yuvraj Pathak & Karen Macours, 2017. "Women’s Political Reservation, Early Childhood Development, and Learning in India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(4), pages 741-766.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child Health; Religion; Hindu; Muslim; India; Bangladesh; Nepal;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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