Does Women’s Empowerment Reduce Prevalence of Stunted and Underweight Children in Rural India?
This study investigates whether mother's empowerment as measured by mother's relative (to father) bargaining power affects children's nutritional status using the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) data spanning the period between 1992 and 2006. First, the relative bargaining index defined as the share of mother's schooling years over father's schooling years positively and significantly influences z scores pertaining to the short-term measures of nutritional status of children, 'weight-for-age' and 'weight- for-height'-. The results of quantile regression suggest, however, that the bargaining power will improve the chronic measure of nutritional status 'height-for-age', at the low end of conditional distribution of z score.. Further, we find that access to health scheme or health insurance and health-related facility, infrastructure and environment are important factors in reducing child malnutrition.
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