Birth Spacing and Child Survival: Comparative Evidence from India and Pakistan
58 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2001
Date Written: October 2001
This paper argues that the duration between successive children affects child survival (the sibling competition effect) while child survival too affects the duration between successive births (the child replacement effect). This inter-relationship is modelled in terms of a correlated simultaneous hazard model to jointly estimate the hazard of child mortality and that of subsequent birth. The analysis is based on the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 1992-93 household-level data from the Indian province of Punjab and Pakistan Integrated Household Survey (PIHS) 1991 data from the Pakistani Punjab province. Our results support evidence of competition among siblings for limited parental resources so that longer prior and posterior birth spacing lower the hazard of mortality. Parental education has a significant effect on the duration between successive births and there is also some evidence in favour of the son-preference hypothesis. Finally, compared to the 1960s, the hazard of subsequent birth has declined significantly in recent decades in the Indian state, but not so in the Pakistani state, highlighting the differential roles of the political and religious institutions shaping people's attitude towards modern contraception and women's education in the two countries.
Keywords: Birth spacing, Child survival, Correlated simultaneous hazards, Sibling inequality, Resource constraint, Son preference, Differential role of parents
JEL Classification: J13, O10, C41, C24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation