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Polygyny, Child Education, Health and Labour: Theory and Evidence from Mali


  • DIARRA, Setou
  • LEBIHAN, Laetitia
  • MAO TAKONGMO, Charles Olivier


In this paper, we use the Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Mali to compare children in polygynous families and their counterparts in monogamous families. We also analyse the link between the mothers' order of marriage and their children's outcomes. We finally propose a theoretical model to rationalise our findings. Our results show that children in polygynous families are less enrolled in school, progress less at school and do less domestic household work compared to children from monogamous families. For polygynous families, we found that educational enrolment and progress of children of the first wife are higher than that of children of the second and subsequent wives. Moreover, weight-for-height and body mass index are both lower for children of first wives compared to children of second and subsequent wives. Children of first wives work more at home compared to children of second and subsequent wives. Our theoretical model predicts that if fathers discriminate against their first wives and if effort at school is positively correlated to the father's discrimination, then, on average, children of first wives will perform better at school but will consume less and will have a lower health outcomes compared to children of second wives

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  • DIARRA, Setou & LEBIHAN, Laetitia & MAO TAKONGMO, Charles Olivier, 2018. "Polygyny, Child Education, Health and Labour: Theory and Evidence from Mali," MPRA Paper 88518, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:88518

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    More about this item


    Family structure; Polygyny; Education; Health; Child labour; Mali.;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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