The effects of education on health and fertility in Ghana

Ahene-Codjoe, Ama Asantewah (2012) The effects of education on health and fertility in Ghana. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Using the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS) conducted in 1987/88 and 1998/99, this thesis examines two thematic areas of non-monetary returns to education in Ghana. One of the primary aims is to find the differences in the effects of education over the decade (1987/88–1998/99), using standard and non-standard econometric analysis. In addition, the later survey year serves as a robustness check on the first.

The first theme examines health status; measured as illness and its duration, as well as the use of anthropometric indicators. The study finds that parental education is positively associated with child’s reported illness and its duration. Further verification of this outcome using an instrumental variable (2SLS) approach that assumes possible endogeneity of parental education supports the results relating to maternal education in both survey years. In contrast, paternal primary education tends to reduce children’s reported illness; but this is only statistically significant in GLSS 1. These outcomes, although perverse are not uncommon in developing countries, and may be the result of systematic reporting bias. The analysis also reveals inconsistent results regarding adults’ health status between the two survey years. For example, we find that illness and its duration increase with personal education in GLSS 1, but the converse is true in GLSS 4, ceteris paribus. The mixed results of this study imply that the relationship between education and health status varies across health measures, and probably over time. Hence caution should be exercised before broad conclusions are drawn and policies made regarding these two vital socioeconomic indicators (education and health).

The last theme analyses fertility in both structural and reduced form functions. The structural function involves a two-stage process. The first stage estimates the effect of education on three proximate determinants of fertility - the duration of breastfeeding, contraceptive use and age at cohabitation. The second stage subsequently models the fertility function by estimating three measures: the probability of having at least one birth; the unconditional number of births; and the number of births conditional on one having occurred, using the predicted values of the proximate determinants as inputs similar to the conventional production function. The reduced form fertility model estimates the impact of women’s education on the number of live births. The findings are that (1) education increases the use of contraception, delays age at cohabitation and shortens the duration of breastfeeding, as anticipated; (2) contraception and age at cohabitation subsequently tend to reduce the overall number of live births, though we observe an ambiguous outcome regarding breastfeeding; (3) education, in a fuller and direct way, also shows a strong negative association with fertility in both surveys; and finally (4) fertility appears to have declined over the period studied. We also find a structural shift in respect of the influence of women’s education from post-primary to primary level on fertility, ceteris paribus.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Appleton, S.
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Economics
ID Code:2642
Deposited By:Dr Ama Asantewah Ahene-Codjoe
Deposited On:10 Oct 2012 11:33
Last Modified:10 Oct 2012 11:33

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