Working Paper- Does Maternal Employment Affect Child Nutrition Status? New Evidence From Egypt

Source: Economic Research Forum
Author(s): Ahmed Rashad, Mesbah Sharaf

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Despite that maternal employment can increase family income, several studies have suggested that it has adverse health consequences on children. The literature on the effects of maternal employment on children in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is scarce. In this study, we assess the impact of maternal employment on children’s health in Egypt, the most populous country in MENA. We use a nationally representative sample of 12,888 children under the age of five from 2014 Demographic and Health Survey for Egypt, to estimate the causal impact of women’s work on child nutritional status, as measured by the Height-for-Age Score (HAZ). We adopted various estimation methods to control for observable and unobservable household characteristics to identify the causal effect of maternal employment. These different techniques include Propensity Score Matching (PSM), OLS regression with controlling for a wide variety of individual characteristics, in addition to Instrumental Variable Two Stage Least Squares approach. We find a strong negative impact of maternal employment on child nutritional status in Egypt, irrespective of the estimation method employed….

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