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Christianity and Infant Health in India

Author

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  • Menon, Nidhiya

    (Brandeis University)

  • McQueeney, Kathleen

    (Brandeis University)

Abstract

This paper studies child health in India focusing on differences in anthropometric outcomes between the three main religions – Hindus, Muslims and Christians. The results indicate that Christian infants have higher height-for-age z-scores as compared to infants of other religious identities, and that this is especially true for infant girls in states with a relatively large Christian presence. We instrument for Christian identity today using data on the location of Protestant and Christian missions, the incidence of epidemic diseases and natural disasters, and political crises (wars) that mission establishing countries were engaged in during India's colonial history. The results are robust to a series of checks for instrument validity and omitted variables, and indicate that by inculcating awareness and spreading knowledge on sanitation and the scientific underpinnings of disease, the advent of Christianity has long-term health implications for India's children today.

Suggested Citation

  • Menon, Nidhiya & McQueeney, Kathleen, 2015. "Christianity and Infant Health in India," IZA Discussion Papers 9177, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9177
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    Cited by:

    1. Calvi, Rossella & Mantovanelli, Federico G., 2018. "Long-term effects of access to health care: Medical missions in colonial India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 285-303.
    2. Castelló-Climent, Amparo & Chaudhary, Latika & Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop, 2015. "Tertiary Education and Prosperity: Catholic Missionaries to Luminosity in India," IZA Discussion Papers 9441, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Olga Popova, 2016. "Suffer for the Faith? Parental Religiosity and Children’s Health," Working Papers 356, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    child health; religion; Christian; Hindu; Muslim; India;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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