Maternal Mortality and Women's Political Participation

49 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2018 Last revised: 16 Apr 2023

See all articles by Sonia R. Bhalotra

Sonia R. Bhalotra

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Damian Clarke

University of Oxford - Department of Economics; Market Imperfections and Public Policy (MiPP); University of Exeter; University of Chile

Joseph Gomes

University of Navarra

Atheendar Venkataramani

University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine

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Abstract

Raising women's political participation leads to faster maternal mortality decline. We estimate that the introduction of quotas for women in parliament results in a 9 to 12% decline in maternal mortality. In terms of mechanisms, it also leads to an 8 to 11% increase in skilled birth attendance and a 6 to 11% increase in prenatal care utilization. We find reinforcing evidence from the period in which the United States experienced rapid declines in maternal mortality. The historical decline made feasible by the introduction of antibiotics was significantly greater in states that had longer exposure to women's suffrage.

Keywords: suffrage, maternal mortality, gender, women's political representation, quotas

JEL Classification: I14, I15, O15

Suggested Citation

Bhalotra, Sonia R. and Clarke, Damian and Gomes, Joseph and Venkataramani, Atheendar, Maternal Mortality and Women's Political Participation. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11590, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3205877 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3205877

Sonia R. Bhalotra (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Damian Clarke

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

Market Imperfections and Public Policy (MiPP) ( email )

University of Exeter ( email )

Northcote House
The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

University of Chile ( email )

Pío Nono Nº1, Providencia
Santiago, R. Metropolitana 7520421
Chile

Joseph Gomes

University of Navarra ( email )

Camino del Cerro del Aguila, 3
Pamplona, Navarra 31080
Spain

Atheendar Venkataramani

University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine ( email )

423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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