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

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Güneş, Pınar Mine. 2013. "The Role of Maternal Education in Child Health: Evidence from a Compulsory Schooling Law." GCC Working Paper Series, GCC 13-07.


This paper explores the effect of maternal education on child health and the channels in which education operates by exploiting a change in the compulsory schooling law (CSL) in Turkey. In order to account for the endogeneity of education, variation in the exposure to the CSL across cohorts induced by the timing of the policy is used as an instrumental variable. The results indicate that mother’s primary school completion improves infant health, as measured by very low birth weight, and child health, as measured by height-for-age and weight-for-age z-scores, even after controlling for many potential confounding factors. This paper also demonstrates that mother’s primary school completion leads to earlier preventive care initiation and reduces smoking.


Child health, Compulsory schooling, Economic development, Instrumental variables, Maternal education, Turkey

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Date Posted: 24 September 2013