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

Vinish Shrestha ()
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Vinish Shrestha: Department of Economics, Towson University

No 2016-08, Working Papers from Towson University, Department of Economics

Abstract: The National Education System Plan, which was 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 such as the ability to read, write, and the highest level of schooling on infant mortality. Using within cohort and across district variations in educational outcomes due to the reform, I find that one more year of maternal schooling at lower levels reduces infant mortality rate by 2.6 percentage points. Households with mothers affected by the reform are more likely to have access to amenities such as clean water supply, electricity, and toilet. Such mothers are also likely to be in better health condition compared to mothers not affected by the reform.

Keywords: Mother's literacy; infant mortality; returns to education. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I26 I15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-hea and nep-lab
Date: 2016-04, Revised 2016-12
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Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2016-08