IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Nettle & Mhairi A. Gibson & David W. Lawson & Rebecca Sear, 2013. "Human behavioral ecology: current research and future prospects," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 24(5), pages 1031-1040.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:59 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:247. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LSERO Manager). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.