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The effects of kin on child mortality in rural Gambia


  • Sear, Rebecca
  • Steele, Fiona
  • McGregor, Ian A.
  • Mace, Ruth


In this paper we analyse data that were collected continuously between 1950 and 1974 from a rural area of The Gambia to determine the effects of kin on child mortality. Multilevel event history models are used to demonstrate that having a living mother, maternal grandmother or elder sisters had a significant positive effect on the survival probabilities of children, whereas fathers, paternal grandmothers, grandfathers and elder brothers had no effect. The mother’s remarriage to a new husband had a detrimental effect on child survival, but there is little difference in the mortality rates of children born to monogamous or polygynous fathers. The implications of these results for understanding the evolution of human life history are discussed.

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  • Sear, Rebecca & Steele, Fiona & McGregor, Ian A. & Mace, Ruth, 2002. "The effects of kin on child mortality in rural Gambia," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 247, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:247

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice Some international evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1033-1067, June.
    2. Stasavage, David, 1997. "The CFA Franc Zone and Fiscal Discipline," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(1), pages 132-167, March.
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    1. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:59 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gyimah, Stephen Obeng, 2009. "Polygynous marital structure and child survivorship in sub-Saharan Africa: Some empirical evidence from Ghana," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 334-342, January.
    3. Li, Yunrong & Mora, Ricardo, 2016. "Re-assessing the Impact of the Grandparent’s Income on the Infant Mortality Rate: An Evaluation of the Old Age Allowance Program in Nepal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 333-348.
    4. Fouts, Hillary N. & Brookshire, Robyn A., 2009. "Who feeds children? A child's-eye-view of caregiver feeding patterns among the Aka foragers in Congo," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 285-292, July.
    5. Donald Cox, 2007. "Biological Basics and the Economics of the Family," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 91-108, Spring.

    More about this item


    kin; child mortality; evolutionary demography; Gambia;

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General


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