Female Height, Social Status and Reproductive Success in 40 Developing Countries

Jeroen Smits, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Christiaan Monden, Tilburg University

Effects of female height, socio-economic status, and context factors on reproductive success are studied using data on over 500,000 women aged 16-49 living in 360 districts within 40 developing countries. The data are derived from the Demographic and Health Surveys. Reproductive success is measured by child mortality, birth weight and height of children (stunting). Because height is, besides a heritable trait, also an indicator of health we expect taller women to experience less child mortality and to have children with higher birth weight and less stunting children than could be expected on the basis of her socio-economic status. Explanatory variables at the district level are modernization, women’s status, and the availability of sanitary and public health facilities. At the national level we control for level of development. District and national characteristics are aggregated from the household surveys. The data are analyzed using three-level multilevel analysis, including cross-level interactions.

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Presented in Session 155: Social Status and Reproduction: Interrelationships between Poverty, Wealth and Fertility