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Child health and policy implications: three essays on India and Africa

Chakravarty, A.; (2012) Child health and policy implications: three essays on India and Africa. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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This thesis presents research on issues in child health and mortality in developing countries, and outlines the implications of the results for government policy. The first chapter investigates how a permanent increase in the supply of vaccinations due to a government programme in India affects the gender difference in immunisation levels between boys and girls, in the presence of significant son preference. We find that the male advantage in number of vaccinations received actually increases as households are initially exposed to the programme, but eventually disappears with continued exposure. The second chapter examines the impact of dams on infant mortality across 17 countries in Africa. The results show that children born immediately downstream from a dam experience a reduction in infant mortality risk, as they benefit from dam irrigation services. Children born farther downstream from the dam however face increased infant mortality risk, as the dam causes water levels downriver to decline, which is harmful to agriculture. Finally, children born in the vicinity of the dam itself also face increased infant mortality risk, as the dam reservoir increases local malaria incidence and reduces agricultural productivity of the surrounding land. The third chapter investigates whether gender discrimination exists in the duration that children are breastfed in Africa. It also examines whether any gender difference in breastfeeding found can be linked to son preference in fertility choice, given previous research that shows breastfeeding is negatively correlated with future fertility. We find a large male advantage in breastfeeding duration in North Africa, which declines significantly if the child in question has at least one older male sibling. In contrast the male advantage in breastfeeding in Sub-Saharan Africa is small, and manifests only among children born after the mother has already attained her desired maximum number of offspring.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Child health and policy implications: three essays on India and Africa
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1344186
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