Using household data from twenty-six African countries, this study examines the correlation between four measures of polygyny and child growth. External validity is added to existing small-sample evidence by investigating this correlation across many countries and by controlling for, as well as exploring, sources of heterogeneity at the regional, country, household, and maternal level. Household fixed-effects models indicate that the children of monogamous mothers have significantly greater height-for-age z-scores than children of polygynous mothers. Also, a low ranking in the hierarchy of mothers and the ratio of married women to men are negatively correlated with child height. The correlation varies widely across countries and is strongest for multigenerational polygynous households.

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Feminist Economics
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Wagner, N, & Rieger, M. (2014). Polygyny and Child Growth: Evidence From Twenty-Six African Countries. Feminist Economics. doi:10.1080/13545701.2014.927953