UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Three essays on female and child outcomes in India Bhattacharjee, Shampa


Poor child health outcomes and high fertility rates are viewed as major obstacles to development in most developing countries. Chapters 2 and 3 of my thesis investigate the determinants of these outcomes in the Indian context. The second chapter looks at the impact of political cycles on infant mortality in India. This study shows that children born 0-12 months before scheduled state assembly elections have 13.4% lower mortality risks as compared to children not born before scheduled elections and that the effect is higher for children born in more politically competitive regions. In addition, the chapter presents some evidence that mothers who gave birth before elections have more regular antenatal check-ups and at least one tetanus injection during their pregnancy. Children born before scheduled assembly elections are also less likely to suffer from low birth weight. My third chapter tests the effect of female employment on fertility in India. The results show that female employment in manufacturing has a negative impact on fertility once the endogeneity in female employment is accounted for. However female employment in agriculture and aggregate female labour force participation has no such effects. The fourth chapter is joint work with Dr. Viktoria Hnatkovska and Dr. Amartya Lahiri. This chapter examines the evolution of gender gaps in India between 1983 and 2010 in education, occupation choices and wages. The chapter shows that the gaps have shrunk quite sharply between men and women in education and choice of occupations and wages. The gaps have narrowed most sharply for the youngest cohorts in the workforce, suggesting that measured gaps will continue to decline over the next two decades.

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