Early marriage, women empowerment and child mortality: Married too young to be a "Good Mother"


This paper uses data from recent Senegalese Demographic and Health Surveys to explore the link between female empowerment and child mortality via early marriage, defined as marriage beforeage 16. There exist three channels through which early marriage reduces a mother's ability to takegood care of her children: the harmful physical consequences of early sex and pregnancy; a disruptededucation; and reduced autonomy and bargaining power. Controlling for the first two of these allowsus to isolate the empowerment effect of early marriage. We estimate that it increases the probabilitythat the mother experience at least one son death by 4.43%, and raises the number of dead sons permother by 0.074. Particular attention is paid to discuss and address endogeneity issues. We also furtherinvestigate the heterogeneity of impact by current age and marriage duration. Findings suggest that weeffectively identify the empowerment channel.


Nathalie Guilbert



Contact Details

PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa, UMR DIAL, 75016 Paris, France IRD, UMR DIAL, 75010 Paris  

Year Of Publication