Investments in children's health and schooling in rural southern Mozambique: the role of mothers' decision-making autonomy and father's labor migration
The objective of this dissertation is to investigate the association of mother's autonomy and male labor migration with child's health and education, taking into account possible differences by child's gender. The dissertation uses data from a household longitudinal survey conducted in rural southern Mozambique in 2006, 2009 and 2011 to address three main questions: 1) Is decision-making autonomy associated with child's schooling and child mortality? 2) Is father's labor migration associated with children's health outcomes? 3) If so, do these relationships change by gender of the child? The dissertation makes three main contributions to the literature. First, it finds a significant effect of mother's decision-making autonomy on child's outcomes, independent of other characteristics related to women's status. Second, it illustrates the cumulative nature of the effect of father's labor migration on the health of children left behind. And finally, the dissertation shows that women's decision-making autonomy and male migration affect children's outcomes differently depending on the gender of the child and on the outcome being analyzed. The dissertation is structured in five chapters. The first chapter gives an introductory overview of women's autonomy and male migration as determinants of children's outcomes, and presents the setting. The second chapter examines the relationship between mother's decision-making autonomy and enrollment for primary school-age children. Results show a positive association of women's decision-making autonomy with the probability of being enrolled for daughters, but not for sons. The effect of women's decision-making autonomy is net of other characteristics associated with autonomy. The third chapter analyzes the association of mother's decision-making autonomy and under-five child mortality. Results show a positive effect women's decision-making autonomy for sons' survival chances. The fourth chapter examines the effect of father's labor migration on health of children left behind. Results indicate that a proportion of child's life spent away by the father has a negative effect on the child's chances of being stunted but that it also decreases the likelihood of the child receiving age-adequate immunization. These results are gendered as the effect of father's migration on both outcomes is significant only for daughters. Chapter five presents the concluding remarks.