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Mothers and Fathers : Education, Co-residence and Child Health


  • Elodie Djemai

    () (PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa)

  • Yohan Renard

    () (PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa)

  • Anne-Laure Samson

    (LEM, Universite de Lille)


We use four waves of Demographic and Health Surveys from Zimbabwe to evaluate the effect of mother’s and father’s education on child health outcomes. We identify causal effects using the 1980 education reform. A simultaneous-equation model is estimated to take into account possible selection and endogeneity biases. Our results suggest some specialization within parents, as mothers and fathers do not affect the same health outcomes of their under-5 children. Fathers matter more than mothers, and mother’s education improves health only when she is matched to a low-educated man. There is selection in our sample, as is usual. The inverse Mills ratio capturing the likelihood of living with one’s father or mother significantly affects child health. Last, parental educational sorting is shown to be important, so that estimation that does not take both mother’s and father’s education into account will produce biased results.

Suggested Citation

  • Elodie Djemai & Yohan Renard & Anne-Laure Samson, 2019. "Mothers and Fathers : Education, Co-residence and Child Health," Working Papers DT/2019/01, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201901

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    More about this item


    Couples; Child’s Health; Education; Reform; Sub-Saharan Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • C36 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • C34 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models

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