Impacts of Mothers’ Time on Children’s Diets

ZEF-Discussion Papers on Development Policy No. 337 (2024)

46 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2024

See all articles by Sundus Saleemi

Sundus Saleemi

University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF)

Crystal Bubune Letsa

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI)

Johnny Owusu-Authur

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI)

Abubakri Mohammed

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI)

Sylvia Baah-Tuahene

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI)

Marilyn Yeboah

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI)

Rose Omari

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI)

Date Written: January 23, 2024

Abstract

This paper provides insights into how variances in time spent by mothers in home production (i.e., domestic and care work) impact children’s diets. We test the hypothesis that a decrease in the time spent by mothers in home production negatively impacts children’s diets. Moreover, the paper considers whether substitute caregivers and improved water infrastructure can reduce these impacts. We use primary data from women traders in three markets in two regions in Ghana. Primary data collected from women traders includes women’s time use, the food consumed by children in the previous 24 hours, and the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the traders’ households. To overcome the empirical challenge in estimating the relationship, we focus on the differences in the time spent by women traders in home production due to the differing demands on their time on “market” and “non-market” days. Market days are specified days for markets in a given geographic location. Market days are characterized by heightened trading activity, with more buyers and more competition. A comparison of the diets of traders’ children on market and non-market days allows for the attribution of effects to changes in the time spent by their mothers in home production while keeping other factors constant. The results suggest that children of women traders are significantly less likely to have achieved Minimum Meal Frequency (MMF) and Minimum Acceptable Diet (MAD) on market days compared to non-market days. This is accompanied by fewer hours spent by women in home production on market days. However, the paper also finds evidence that in certain scenarios the negative effect of demands on women traders’ time on children’s diets can be mitigated by substitute caregivers and the availability of water infrastructure.

Note:

Funding Information: The study is part of the “Program of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation” (PARI), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Conflict of Interests: The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval: The study received ethical clearance from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Keywords: Home Production, Dietary Diversity, Diet Adequacy, Children’s Diets, Women’s Work, Time Use

JEL Classification: B54, D13, J2

Suggested Citation

Saleemi, Sundus and Letsa, Crystal Bubune and Owusu-Authur, Johnny and Mohammed, Abubakri and Baah-Tuahene, Sylvia and Yeboah, Marilyn and Omari, Rose, Impacts of Mothers’ Time on Children’s Diets (January 23, 2024). ZEF-Discussion Papers on Development Policy No. 337 (2024), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4703635 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4703635

Sundus Saleemi (Contact Author)

University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF) ( email )

Walter-Flex-Str. 3
Bonn, NRW 53113
Germany

Crystal Bubune Letsa

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) ( email )

Johnny Owusu-Authur

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) ( email )

Abubakri Mohammed

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) ( email )

Sylvia Baah-Tuahene

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) ( email )

Marilyn Yeboah

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) ( email )

Rose Omari

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI)

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