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Can Basic Maternal Literacy Skills Improve Infant Health Outcomes? Evidence from the Education Act in Nepal

Vinish Shrestha

Journal of Human Capital, 2019, vol. 13, issue 3, 434 - 478

Abstract: The National Education System Plan, implemented in 1971, reshaped the education system of Nepal and increased access to education among females. I use this dramatic change in Nepal’s education system as a quasi-natural experiment to identify the effect of maternal literacy skills and highest level of schooling on infant and child mortality outcomes. The results suggest that the reform improved educational attainment among females of school-going age during the time of the reform but had no effect on males’ educational attainment. Using within-cohort and across-district variations in educational outcomes due to the reform, I find that one more year of maternal schooling reduces the under-5 mortality rate by 4.5 percentage points.

Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/704320