Open Conference Systems, 50th Scientific meeting of the Italian Statistical Society

Font Size: 
Women’s empowerment and child mortality: the case of Bangladesh
Chiara Puglisi

Last modified: 2018-05-16


Bangladesh is the Southern Asian country that has been experiencing the highest absolute decline in the Under Five Mortality Rate in the past 15 years. This paper focuses on the importance of women’s education and empowerment variables in explaining this extraordinary result. We use a two-level multilevel logistic regression to take into account the great differences among territorial communities in terms of child mortality reduction. It emerges that the importance of woman’s empowerment - measured as individual and as mother - remains relevant even when the context is considered. A sensitivity analysis has been conducted to test the relevance of different indicators of female empowerment.


  1. Alemayehu, Y. K., Theall, K., Lemma, W., Hajito, K. W., & Tushune, K. (2015). The role of empowerment in the association between a woman’s educational status and infant mortality in Ethiopia: Secondary analysis of demographic and health surveys. Ethiopian journal of health sciences, 25(4), 353-362.
  2. Bloom, S. S., Wypij, D., & Das, G. M. (2001). Dimensions of women's autonomy and the influence on maternal health care utilization in a north Indian city. Demography, 38, 67-78.
  3. Caldwell, J.C. (1979). Education as a factor in mortality decline: an examination of Nigerian data. Population Studies 33(3):395-413.
  4. Caldwell, J., & McDonald, P. (1982). Influence of maternal education on infant and child mortality: levels and causes. Health policy and education, 2(3), 251-267.
  5. Chowdhury, A. M., Bhuiya, A., Chowdhury, M. E., Rasheed, S., Hussain, Z., & Chen, L. C. (2013). The Bangladesh paradox: Exceptional health achievement despite economic poverty. The Lancet, 382:1734– 1745.
  6. DHS Stat Compiler. (2018). Retrieved from Accessed on February 12, 2018.
  7. Griffis, H. M. (2012). Women's empowerment and infant and child mortality: Incorporating social institutions and context. The Florida State University.
  8. Hossain, B. (2015). Women empowerment and infant mortality in Bangladesh. Applied Economics, 47(51), 5534-5547.
  9. Kabeer, N. (1999). Resources, agency, achievements: Reflections on the measurement of women’s empowerment. Development and change, 30(3), 435-464.
  10. Maitra, P. (2004). Parental bargaining, health inputs and child mortality in India. Journal of health economics, 23(2), 259-291.
  11. Matteson, D. W., Burr, J. A., & Marshall, J. R. (1998). Infant mortality: a multi-level analysis of individual and community risk factors. Social Science & Medicine, 47(11), 1841-1854.
  12. Masuy-Stroobant, G. (2002). The determinants of infant mortality: how far are conceptual frameworks really modelled? In The explanatory power of models (pp. 15-39). Springer Netherlands.
  13. Mosley, W. H., & Chen, L.C. (1984). An analytical framework for the study of child survival in developing countries. Population and development review, 10, 25-45.

Full Text: PDF