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Maternal Mortality and Women’s Political Power

Author

Listed:
  • Bhalotra, Sonia

    (University of Warwick)

  • Clarke, Damian

    (Universidad de Chile)

  • Gomes, Joseph F.

    (UC Louvain)

  • Venkataramani, Atheendar

    (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

Millions of women continue to die during and soon after childbirth, even where the knowledge and resources to avoid this are available. We posit that raising the share of women in parliament can trigger action. Leveraging the timing of gender quota legislation across developing countries, we identify sharp sustained reductions of 8–10 percent in maternal mortality. Investigating mechanisms, we find that gender quotas lead to increases in percentage points of 5–8 in skilled birth attendance and 4–8 in prenatal care utilization, alongside a decline in fertility of 6–7 percent and an increase in the schooling of young women of about 0.5 years. The results are robust to numerous robustness checks. They suggest a new policy tool for tackling maternal mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhalotra, Sonia & Clarke, Damian & Gomes, Joseph F. & Venkataramani, Atheendar, 2021. "Maternal Mortality and Women’s Political Power," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1353, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1353
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    maternal mortality ; women’s political representation ; gender ; quotas ; reproductive health services ; fertility ; schooling JEL Classification: I14 ; I15 ; O15;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and 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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