Grand Challenges Canada Economic Returns to Mitigating Early Life Risks Project Working Paper Series

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Working Paper

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Kiani, Adiqa K. and Jere R. Behrman. 2013. "Mothers’ Empowerment, Children’s Inoculations and Schooling in Pakistan: Urban vs Rural Areas, Daughters vs Sons and 1998-99 vs 2007-08." GCC Working Paper Series, GCC 13-06.


Mothers’ empowerment is thought to have considerable impact on children’s health and schooling. But the evidence for developing countries of the magnitudes of such effects, how they differ between urban and rural areas, whether they differ for daughters versus sons and whether they are changing over time is limited, particularly for countries that are characterized as having relatively great gender inequality. We construct a mothers’ empowerment index from Pakistani household survey data for 1998-99 and 2007-08 and investigate the associations between mothers’ empowerment and children’s inoculations and schooling. Because mothers’ empowerment may be endogenous, we explore instrumental variable estimates using women’s ages at the time of marriage as the identifying instrument. We find that the greater mothers’ empowerment: the more likely that preschool-age children have complete inoculations and the younger is the age of starting school and the greater is the schooling progression rate. These effects are larger in absolute magnitude for urban than for rural areas (though significantly so at the 5% level only for inoculations), suggesting that the urban context facilitates the effectiveness of mothers’ empowerment on investments in children’s human capital. They also are larger in absolute magnitude for daughters than for sons (though significantly so only for the schooling progression rate), suggesting some intergenerational own-gender reinforcement. Finally, these effects are significantly larger in absolute magnitudes for 2007-08 than for 1998-99, suggesting increased impact of a given degree of mothers’ empowerment in the first decade of the 21st century.


Child health, Child schooling, Intergenerational relations, Mothers' empowerment



Date Posted: 14 August 2013