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The Role of Maternal Literacy in Reducing the Risk of Child Malnutrition in India

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  • Vani K. Borooah

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Abstract

This study uses unit-record data on over 50,000 rural children, from the sixteen major states of India, to analyse the determinants of the risks of severe stunting and of being severely underweight. The importance of this study derives from the fact that the prevalence of under-nourishment in India is, even relative to other poor countries, shockingly high. The study focuses on the role of maternal literacy in reducing the risk of child malnourishment. It concludes that when the mother is literate, real benefits flow to children in terms of reduced risk; the same benefits, however, do not flow when the father, but not the mother, is literate. Literate mothers make more effective use of health-care institutions, like anganwadis and hospitals. Consequently, the benefits to children from expanding the supply of such institutions are greater when these institutions interact with mothers who are literate.

Suggested Citation

  • Vani K. Borooah, 2002. "The Role of Maternal Literacy in Reducing the Risk of Child Malnutrition in India," ICER Working Papers 31-2002, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:31-2002
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    Cited by:

    1. Di Tommaso, Maria Laura, 2007. "Children capabilities: A structural equation model for India," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 436-450, June.
    2. Rolando Morales & Ana María Aguilar & Alvaro Calzadilla, 2005. "Desnutrición en Bolivia: la geografía y la cultura sí importan," Research Department Publications 3186, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Rolando Morales & Ana María Aguilar & Alvaro Calzadilla, 2005. "Undernutrition in Bolivia: Geography and Culture Matter," Research Department Publications 3185, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    4. Webb, Patrick & Block, Steven, 2004. "Nutrition Information and Formal Schooling as Inputs to Child Nutrition," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 801-820, July.
    5. Patrick Webb & Steven Block, 2003. "Nutrition Knowledge and Parental Schooling as Inputs to Child Nutrition in the Long and Short Run," Working Papers in Food Policy and Nutrition 21, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
    6. Morales, Rolando & Aguilar, Ana Maria & Calzadilla, Alvaro, 2004. "Geography and culture matter for malnutrition in Bolivia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 373-390, December.

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