Mother's Spending Decisions, Ethnicity and Child Malnutrition in Ghana

"I argue in this policy brief that the relationship between ethnicity and the mother’s role in child nutrition is either direct or indirect, depending on the nature of cultural practices. Thus, in a setting with cultural practices such as food taboos, restrictions on place of childbirth, age at marriage and gender exclusion, the effect will be direct on the health of the mother (which is the most obvious channel) and this will be transmitted directly to a child’s health. Another channel which is less obvious but worth considering relates to the cultural practices that affect the mother’s role in the household, thereby constraining her to engage in activities that enhance a child’s nutritional status. This brief focuses on the latter argument and concentrates specifically on how mothers’ spending decisions affect child malnutrition in the context of different ethnic groups in Ghana."