Disappearing Sex-Bias in Child Health in Bangladesh

Erin Trapp, University of Colorado at Boulder
Jill Williams, University of Colorado at Boulder
Jane Menken, University of Colorado at Boulder
Shannon Fisher, University of Colorado at Boulder

Although Bangladeshi children still are at risk of long-and short-term malnutrition, significant improvements are found during the past decade. We find a surprising lack of sex differences in wasting and stunting, a tremendous change from previous observations in Bangladesh. Further, we find a striking lack of significance of family structure on health; neither the total nor the number of male siblings is found to impact child health, nor do girls with surviving older sisters have higher risks of poor health. Competition for nutritional resources is not observed until girls with three or more older brothers are examined. Maternal education is found to significantly impact child health, a relationship that holds with controls for household resources and ready access to treatment. Overall, children of both sexes in Matlab show remarkable increases in health, and maternal education is found to dramatically increase the diffusion of equality norms related to child nutrition.

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Presented in Session 102: Household Structure and Child Wellbeing in Developing Countries