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Maternal Mortality and Women's Political Participation

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  • Gomes, Joseph Flavian
  • Bhalotra, Sonia
  • Clarke, Damian
  • Venkataramani, Atheendar

Abstract

Millions of women continue to die during and soon after childbirth, even where the knowledge and resources to avoid this are available. We posit that raising the share of women in parliament can trigger action. Leveraging the timing of gender quota legislation across developing countries, we identify sharp sustained reductions of 8-10 percent in maternal mortality. Investigating mechanisms, we find that gender quotas lead to increases in percentage points of 5-8 in skilled birth attendance and 4-8 in prenatal care utilization, alongside a decline in fertility of 6-7 percent and an increase in the schooling of young women of about 0.5 years. The results are robust to numerous robustness checks. They suggest a new policy tool for tackling maternal mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Gomes, Joseph Flavian & Bhalotra, Sonia & Clarke, Damian & Venkataramani, Atheendar, 2020. "Maternal Mortality and Women's Political Participation," CEPR Discussion Papers 14339, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:14339
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    3. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Rocha, Rudi & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2019. "Does Universalization of Health Work? Evidence from Health Systems Restructuring and Expansion in Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 12111, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Bhalotra, Sonia & Clots-Figueras, Irma & Iyer, Lakshmi, 2021. "Religion and abortion: The role of politician identity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    5. Sonia Bhalotra & Rudi Rocha & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2020. "Can Universalization of Health Work? Evidence from Health Systems Restructuring and Expansion in Brazil," Working Papers 03, Instituto de Estudos para Políticas de Saúde.
    6. Ogbuagu Matthew Ikechukwu & Olunkwa Ndubuisi Chidi & Ogbuagu Chukwunonso Valentine, 2020. "Impact of Capital Health Expenditure on Infant-Maternal Mortality in Nigeria," Academic Journal of Economic Studies, Faculty of Finance, Banking and Accountancy Bucharest,"Dimitrie Cantemir" Christian University Bucharest, vol. 6(1), pages 85-92, March.
    7. Raphael Bruce & Alexsandros Cavgias & Luis Meloni & Mario Remigio, 2021. "Under Pressure: Women's Leadership During the COVID-19 Crisis," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2021_19, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    8. Rustagi, Niharika & Akter, Sonia, 2022. "The impact of women's political representation on child health outcomes during 1990–2020: Evidence from a global dataset," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 312(C).
    9. Issa Dianda & Idrissa Ouedraogo & Jean de dieu Goumbri, 2021. "Closing the Gender Gap in Secondary School Enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa: Does women's political empowerment matter?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 41(2), pages 544-552.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Maternal mortality; Women's political representation; Gender; Quotas; Reproductive health services; Fertility; Schooling;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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