May 2017

IZA DP No. 10780: Effect of Political Decentralization and Female Leadership on Institutional Births and Child Mortality in Rural Bihar, India

published in: Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 185, July 2017, 171-178

In this paper, we investigate the impacts of political decentralization and women reservation in local governance on institutional births and child mortality in the state of Bihar, India. Using the difference-in-differences methodology, we find a significant positive association between political decentralization and institutional births. We also find that the increased participation of women at local governance led to an increased survival rate of children belonging to richer households. We argue that our results are consistent with female leaders having policy preference for women and child well-being.