Birth Spacing and Child Survival: Comparative Evidence from India and Pakistan
In view of higher fertility and mortality rates in Pakistan compared to India, this paper examines the two-way relationship between birth interval and child mortality and compares the behaviour of households in the Indian and Pakistani provinces of Punjab. Birth interval and child survival are modelled here as correlated hazard processes to address the bias generated by the simultaneity between spacing and survival. We find evidence of significant mutual dependence between birth interval and child survival in both samples. We also identify a close correspondence between birth interval and duration of breastfeeding and argue that the duration of breastfeeding is a good instrument of birth spacing in our samples. There are also interesting differences between Indian and Pakistani households with respect to effects of son preference and female literacy. We argue that part of these differences could be explained by differences in religion and state policies in these two neighbouring states.
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