Polygyny, Child Education, Health and Labour: Theory and Evidence from Mali
36 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 17, 2018
In this paper, we use the Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Mali to compare children in polygynous families and their counterparts in monogamous families. We also analyse the link between the mothers' order of marriage and their children's outcomes. We finally propose a theoretical model to rationalise our findings. Our results show that children in polygynous families are less enrolled in school, progress less at school and do less domestic household work compared to children from monogamous families. For polygynous families, we found that educational enrollment and progress of children of the first wife are higher than that of children of the second and subsequent wives. Moreover, weight-for-height and body mass index are both lower for children of first wives compared to children of second and subsequent wives. Children of first wives work more at home compared to children of second and subsequent wives. Our theoretical model predicts that if fathers discriminate against their first wives and if effort at school is positively correlated to the father's discrimination, then, on average, children of first wives will perform better at school but will consume less and will have a lower health outcomes compared to children of second wives.
Keywords: Family structure, Polygyny, Education, Health, Child labour, Mali
JEL Classification: I14, J13, O12, O15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation