The Role of Maternal Cognitive Skills on Children's Health in Madagascar

Catalina Herrera, Cornell University
David E. Sahn, Cornell University and University of Auvergne

Chronic malnutrition affects half of the children under age of five in Madagascar and little is known on the role of female education in improving child health. This paper analyzes the effect of maternal cognitive skills on children’s health, measured by height-for-age, in Madagascar. We use a 2012 panel data that follows a cohort of women and collects economic and life course events going back to 2004, when they were adolescents and first interviewed. We rely on the 2012 test scores of Math, French and Life Skills to measure maternal cognitive skills as well as on household and community socioeconomic characteristics where mother and child live to control for other factors that affect child’s health production. To address the endogeneity between maternal education and child health, we plan to instrument education with school quality characteristics as well as other variables related to costs of schooling when the mothers were adolescents.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Children and Youth; Data and Methods