Maternal Schooling and Child Mortality in Nigeria: The Importance of the Actual Curriculum

Emily Grace Smith, Pennsylvania State University

This paper examines what mediates the relationship between maternal schooling and child mortality in Nigeria. The sample consists of 5,742 children derived from the nationally representative 2003 Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). A series of seven equations are modeled to estimate specific individual-level pathways from maternal schooling to child mortality. More specifically, female autonomy, empowerment, attendance from medical professionals, use of a modern health facility, and literacy are evaluated as mediators. To evaluate the robustness of the individual-level findings, conditional fixed-effects logistic regression is employed to control for community-level factors and isolate the individual-level effect of mothers’ education on the odds of child mortality. The results suggest that the evaluated components of a ‘hidden curriculum’ are not the primary mechanisms but that literacy significantly mediates the relationship between maternal schooling and child mortality.

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Presented in Session 109: Infant and Child Mortality