Wednesday, January 13, 2021

99. Babies and Research on Better Informed Husbands

 Jan. 13, 2021         Excerpt from a World Bank Blog               

At Artisan Coffee Imports, we are regular readers of the World Bank Blog, "Development Impact." We especially appreciate posts by Markus Goldstein, and this week's post was no exception. He starts with the intriguing title, "Is an informed husband a better husband?"

The paper Goldstein reviews deserves attention because it shows that we must take issues like intra-household gender dynamics seriously if we want to tackle issues like fertility. In this study, a relatively simple intervention is observed as making meaningful progress in not only reducing the chance of pregnancy, but also shifting preferences, improving communication, and making folks happier in their marriage. 

I give you the setting of the paper here -- you will need to click and read the above link to learn the details of the intervention and results.

The setting is Lusaka, Zambia. National fertility rates are on the high side, with 5.3 children per woman aged 15-49. In this context, as in many others, men would prefer, on average, to have more children than women (in Ashraf and co’s sample, men would like 4.43, women 4.19). Maternal mortality is high: 1 in 59 Zambian women die giving birth. And men are less aware of the factors that contribute to maternal mortality than women. For example, 84.6 percent of women identify advanced maternal age as a risk factor, but only 74.3 percent of men do.

So, this adds up to a situation where men are less informed about a risk they want their wife to take. And she can’t effectively communicate this risk to him. 

(Quoted from Markus Goldstein, Development Impact Blog)

As Ashraf and co-authors argue, we still have some ways to go to understand these things better, but for now the results of this study help us get a handle on how asymmetric information and differing preferences at an intra-household level is impacting decisions about child-bearing.

No comments:

Post a Comment