The Role of Mother's Primary School Completion in Maternal Health Care Utilization and Birth Weight: Evidence from a Compulsory Schooling Law

Pinar Mine Gunes, University of Maryland

This paper explores the effect of maternal education on infant health and their channels by exploiting a change in the compulsory schooling law (CSL) in Turkey. In order to account for the endogeneity of education, variation in the exposure to the CSL across cohorts induced by the timing of the policy is used as an instrumental variable. The results indicate that mother's primary school completion improves infant health, as measured by very low birth weight, even after controlling for many potential confounding factors. This paper also demonstrates that mother's primary school completion leads to earlier preventive care initiation and reduces smoking.

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Presented in Session 123: Determinants of Maternal and Child Health in Developing Countries