Education Matters—But Whose Education? The Relative Importance of Women’s and Spouses’ Education in Explaining Fertility Response of a Reproductive Health Program in Rural Ghana

Patrick Asuming , University of Ghana
Ayaga A. Bawah, University of Ghana
James F. Phillips, Columbia University

This paper examines the relative importance of educational attainment of women and the educational attainment of their spouse in explaining fertility outcomes. We investigate whether woman's education or spouse's education of women was more important in determining the impact of the introduction of a of reproductive health program in the Kassena-Nankana district in rural Northern Ghana. We use longitudinal data on 24,204 women over a period of 18 years from the Navrongo Health and Demographic Surveillance. Our regression analysis show that 1) the spouse’s education is as important as the women’s education in explaining the fertility effect of the program; and 2) the effect of the program was strongest when both woman and spouse were educated. Our results suggest that in highly patriarchal societies like those on many sub-Saharan African countries the education status of the men may have an equally important effect on fertility outcomes as the education status of the women themselves.

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 Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2