Working paper 08/185 - abstract

Religion and Childhood Death in India (PDF, 579kB)

Sonia Bhalotra, Christine Valente and Arthur van Soest

Muslim children in India face substantially lower mortality risks than Hindu children. This is surprising because one would have expected just the opposite: Muslims have, on average, lower socio-economic status, higher fertility, shorter birth-spacing, and are a minority group in India that may be expected to live in areas that have relatively poor public provision. Although higher fertility amongst Muslims as compared with Hindus has excited considerable political and academic attention in India, higher mortality amongst Hindus has gone largely unnoticed. This paper considers this seeming puzzle in depth.

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