Does Maternal Education Affect the Sex-Differential in Infant and Child Mortality? Evidence from 55 Low and Middle Income Countries

Christiaan W. S. Monden, University of Oxford
Jeroen Smits, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

The sex-differential in infant and child mortality shows considerable variation across and within societies. Most studies on the sex-differential in infant/child mortality focus on regions with absolute excess female mortality, such as parts of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The degree of male excess mortality, however, also differs substantially across and within societies. In this study we focus on the role of maternal education at the household level and district/regional level. Can maternal education, one of the important social determinants of infant and child mortality, account for the variation in the sex-differential? We analyze DHS data on about 60,000 infant/child deaths in 55 countries. We find a clear and seemingly universal pattern of increasing advantage for girls by maternal education at the household level. Maternal education is more important than household wealth. Maternal education at the cluster and regional level do not seem to be associated with the sex-differential.

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Presented in Poster Session 3