Can maternal education sustain or enhance the benefits of early life interventions? Evidence from the Young Lives Longitudinal Study
This paper provides evidence on the predicted benefits of maternal education, in terms of reduced child malnutrition at age 1 and age 5, focusing specifically on the complementarities of maternal education with early life interventions across contexts. Using data from the Young Lives Longitudinal Study for Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam, results show the expected strong association of maternal education with a reduced likelihood of malnutrition both at ages 1 and 5. However, the benefits of maternal education via access to early life interventions, in this case antenatal care, are found only in some countries and for some levels of maternal education. Inequalities in the risk of malnutrition between those with the highest endowments of maternal education and access to antenatal services, and those without these, are significant within countries. We conclude that programmes which aim to reduce the risks of malnutrition should consider local knowledge and realities in order to understand more fully the expected benefits.