The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India

S. Bhalotra, C. Valente, A.H.O. van Soest

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

253 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The socio-economic status of Indian Muslims is, on average, considerably lower than that of upper caste Hindus. Muslims have higher fertility and shorter birth spacing and are a minority group that, it has been argued, have poorer access to public goods. They nevertheless exhibit substantially higher child survival rates, and have done for decades. This paper documents and analyses this seeming puzzle. The religion gap in survival is much larger than the gender gap but, in contrast to the gender gap, it has not received much political or academic attention. A decomposition of the survival differential reveals that some compositional effects favour Muslims but that, overall, differences in characteristics between the communities and especially the Muslim deficit in parental education predict a Hindu advantage. Alternative outcomes and specifications support our finding of a Muslim fixed effect that favours survival. The results of this study contribute to a recent literature that debates the importance of socioeconomic status (SES) in determining health and survival. They augment a growing literature on the role of religion or culture as encapsulating important unobservable behaviours or endowments that influence health, indeed, enough to reverse the SES gradient that is commonly observed.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherEconometrics
Number of pages57
Volume2009-13
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper
Volume2009-13

Fingerprint

Muslim
India
social status
Religion
gender
caste
health
fertility
deficit
minority
community
economics
education
Group
literature

Keywords

  • religion
  • caste
  • gender
  • child survival
  • anthropometrics
  • Hindu
  • Muslim
  • India

Cite this

Bhalotra, S., Valente, C., & van Soest, A. H. O. (2009). The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 2009-13). Tilburg: Econometrics.
Bhalotra, S. ; Valente, C. ; van Soest, A.H.O. / The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India. Tilburg : Econometrics, 2009. (CentER Discussion Paper).
@techreport{04b93d91c138491a9dd2b78790ff3460,
title = "The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India",
abstract = "The socio-economic status of Indian Muslims is, on average, considerably lower than that of upper caste Hindus. Muslims have higher fertility and shorter birth spacing and are a minority group that, it has been argued, have poorer access to public goods. They nevertheless exhibit substantially higher child survival rates, and have done for decades. This paper documents and analyses this seeming puzzle. The religion gap in survival is much larger than the gender gap but, in contrast to the gender gap, it has not received much political or academic attention. A decomposition of the survival differential reveals that some compositional effects favour Muslims but that, overall, differences in characteristics between the communities and especially the Muslim deficit in parental education predict a Hindu advantage. Alternative outcomes and specifications support our finding of a Muslim fixed effect that favours survival. The results of this study contribute to a recent literature that debates the importance of socioeconomic status (SES) in determining health and survival. They augment a growing literature on the role of religion or culture as encapsulating important unobservable behaviours or endowments that influence health, indeed, enough to reverse the SES gradient that is commonly observed.",
keywords = "religion, caste, gender, child survival, anthropometrics, Hindu, Muslim, India",
author = "S. Bhalotra and C. Valente and {van Soest}, A.H.O.",
note = "Subsequently published in Journal of Health Economics, 2010 Pagination: 57",
year = "2009",
language = "English",
volume = "2009-13",
series = "CentER Discussion Paper",
publisher = "Econometrics",
type = "WorkingPaper",
institution = "Econometrics",

}

Bhalotra, S, Valente, C & van Soest, AHO 2009 'The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India' CentER Discussion Paper, vol. 2009-13, Econometrics, Tilburg.

The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India. / Bhalotra, S.; Valente, C.; van Soest, A.H.O.

Tilburg : Econometrics, 2009. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 2009-13).

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

TY - UNPB

T1 - The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India

AU - Bhalotra, S.

AU - Valente, C.

AU - van Soest, A.H.O.

N1 - Subsequently published in Journal of Health Economics, 2010 Pagination: 57

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - The socio-economic status of Indian Muslims is, on average, considerably lower than that of upper caste Hindus. Muslims have higher fertility and shorter birth spacing and are a minority group that, it has been argued, have poorer access to public goods. They nevertheless exhibit substantially higher child survival rates, and have done for decades. This paper documents and analyses this seeming puzzle. The religion gap in survival is much larger than the gender gap but, in contrast to the gender gap, it has not received much political or academic attention. A decomposition of the survival differential reveals that some compositional effects favour Muslims but that, overall, differences in characteristics between the communities and especially the Muslim deficit in parental education predict a Hindu advantage. Alternative outcomes and specifications support our finding of a Muslim fixed effect that favours survival. The results of this study contribute to a recent literature that debates the importance of socioeconomic status (SES) in determining health and survival. They augment a growing literature on the role of religion or culture as encapsulating important unobservable behaviours or endowments that influence health, indeed, enough to reverse the SES gradient that is commonly observed.

AB - The socio-economic status of Indian Muslims is, on average, considerably lower than that of upper caste Hindus. Muslims have higher fertility and shorter birth spacing and are a minority group that, it has been argued, have poorer access to public goods. They nevertheless exhibit substantially higher child survival rates, and have done for decades. This paper documents and analyses this seeming puzzle. The religion gap in survival is much larger than the gender gap but, in contrast to the gender gap, it has not received much political or academic attention. A decomposition of the survival differential reveals that some compositional effects favour Muslims but that, overall, differences in characteristics between the communities and especially the Muslim deficit in parental education predict a Hindu advantage. Alternative outcomes and specifications support our finding of a Muslim fixed effect that favours survival. The results of this study contribute to a recent literature that debates the importance of socioeconomic status (SES) in determining health and survival. They augment a growing literature on the role of religion or culture as encapsulating important unobservable behaviours or endowments that influence health, indeed, enough to reverse the SES gradient that is commonly observed.

KW - religion

KW - caste

KW - gender

KW - child survival

KW - anthropometrics

KW - Hindu

KW - Muslim

KW - India

M3 - Discussion paper

VL - 2009-13

T3 - CentER Discussion Paper

BT - The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India

PB - Econometrics

CY - Tilburg

ER -

Bhalotra S, Valente C, van Soest AHO. The Puzzle of Muslim Advantage in Child Survival in India. Tilburg: Econometrics. 2009. (CentER Discussion Paper).