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Mother's autonomy: impact on the quality of children's healthcare in India

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Given the poor condition of children's health in developing countries, this article seeks to examine two hypotheses concerning healthcare for children. First, does mother's autonomy influence the quality of child healthcare and, second, which is related to the first, whether mother's autonomy reduces the apparent gender bias in child healthcare. Using household survey data from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in India the article finds that for the most part as the mother's autonomy (measured several different ways) increases, the quality of care for children improves. The results also indicate that gender bias exists in the provision of quality healthcare for children. Male children generally receive better quality care. However, for several measures of female autonomy, an increase in such autonomy reduces the bias. The results of this analysis have important policy implications and provide additional insight into the state of affairs of children's health in rural India.

Keywords: I10; India; O10; children's healthcare; mother's autonomy; quality of healthcare

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics,Southern Illinois University, Faner Hall,Carbondale 62901, USA 2: Department of Economics,Missouri State University, 901 S. National, Springfield 65897, USA

Publication date: 2013-05-01

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