THE CONTRIBUTION OF MATERNAL EDUCATION TO CHILD HEALTH
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Using data from the Demographic and Health Surveys for Nigeria, we re-examine the intergenerational effect of maternal education on the child health measures: height-for-age, weight-for-age, and weight-for-height. The study finds a positive association between maternal education and child health. We contribute to the existing literature by analyzing the underlying mechanisms behind the association between maternal education and child health. Our analysis highlights that the impacts of maternal education on children’s health can be partially explained by fertility behavior, access to health knowledge, characteristics of the husband, employment status, and empowerment of the mother. We observe that by introducing socioeconomic status controls into our models, the impact of maternal education on child health diminishes as the education of the mother is correlated with higher socioeconomic status. Our findings highlight the significant differences between Nigerian regions as captured by region of residence fixed effects. To maximize the benefits of maternal education, policymakers may benefit from understanding the underlying processes. Considering the persistent and long-term effects of early childhood health, our results emphasize the importance of the educational attainment of the mother for enhancing economic and social welfare in Nigeria.