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Traditional Beliefs and Learning about Maternal Risk in Zambia

Nava Ashraf, Erica Field, Giuditta Rusconi, Alessandra Voena and Roberta Ziparo ()

American Economic Review, 2017, vol. 107, issue 5, 511-15

Abstract: Maternal mortality remains very high in many parts of the developing world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. While maternal deaths are observable, it may not be straightforward for individuals to learn about risk factors. This paper utilizes novel data on male and female perceptions of maternal risk in Zambia to document that superstitions about causes of maternal mortality are pervasive and to uncover evidence that such beliefs impede learning about maternal health risk levels and correlates. In our data, people who hold traditional beliefs disregard past birth complications completely in assessing future risk, unlike those who hold modern beliefs.

JEL-codes: I11 I12 I14 I18 J13 J16 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20171106
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