Maternal Participation and Child Health in a Developing Setting

Jenna Nobles, University of California, Los Angeles

In recent years, the idea that participation in community activities may create network resources that in turn improve the well-being of individuals and families has gained considerable prominence among both researchers and policymakers. It has been suggested that the “social capital” generated from these networks may in some instances substitute for financial capital, particularly in poor communities or for poor households in developing countries. In this paper I assess the link between participation in community activities and health. Specifically, I ask whether children are healthier when their mothers are active within their communities. Panel data come from the 1997 and 2000 waves of the Indonesia Family Life Survey. Preliminary results indicate that, in Indonesia, maternal community participation is positively related to child height-for-age in poorer households, mitigating the deleterious effects on health associated with living in a poor household. This relationship holds when community fixed effects are included in the estimations.

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Presented in Session 75: Child Health and Socioeconomic Status