Maternal autonomy and birth registration in India: Who gets counted?

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This paper examines the effect of maternal socio-economic status in the household, such as their autonomy, ability, freedom and bargaining power, on child birth registration in India using the nationally representative India Human Development Survey-II (IHDS-II), 2011–12. We have estimated a multilevel mixed effects model which accounts for the hierarchical structure of the data and allows us to examine the effects of unobserved ‘district’ and ‘community’ characteristics along with individual child level characteristics on probability of birth registration. The results show that between-districts and between individuals differences share a considerably high and an almost equal proportion of the variations in probability of birth registration in India. At individual child level, mother’s socio-economic status such as her ability to move around independently and her exposure to outside world, significantly raise the probability of birth registration. More importantly, the marginal effects of the maternal autonomy indicators: mother’s ability to move around freely and her control over resources, on birth registration vary across districts in India. Other variables such as institutional birth, mother’s antenatal care seeking behaviour, caste, religion, household wealth and parental education are significant determinants of birth registration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0194095
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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