Educational Expansion and Cesarean Prevalence: Decomposing the Social Drivers of Change

Sarah Giroux , Cornell University
Kopal Jha

The United Nations Goals to improve women’s reproductive health and increase women’s education typically work in tandem. However, in the specific case of cesarean delivery, this linkage may be in conflict. We use data Demographic and Health Surveys from 49 countries at two points in time to document variation in levels and trends of caesarian usage by education level (as a proxy of socioeconomic status). More specially, we use a decomposition approach that allows us to determine how national change in cesarean usage is driven by the changing size and behavior of different education groups. Overall, we find significant heterogeneity in cesarean usage by education level that is masked by national averages. Even in countries where overall cesarean rates fall into the acceptable or below acceptable rate category, we see large disparities in utilization by education levels, with large parts of the population either dangerously above and below the guidelines.

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 Presented in Session 10. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior & Reproductive Health 2