Women's education is widely recognized as a key factor in improving well-being in developing countries. However, previous research rarely considers both the individual and contextual effects of education. As broad societal transformations take place, education may shape women's capacity to take advantage of better access to power and resources, resulting in a dispersion effect of expanded women's education on well-being. Combining multilevel modeling with spatial data techniques, this study investigates variation in child malnutrition in Nigeria based on a set of individual and community characteristics. Nigeria is an interesting development case study because it outperforms other lower middle-income countries in GDP per capita, yet lags behind in many indicators of well-being. Drawing on data from the Demographic and Health Surveys and the Global Administrative Areas database, the analysis pools data on 24,990 children across 458 communities. Results indicate that women's education has a robust association with malnutrition at the community level, even controlling for a variety of household characteristics. This suggests that education has a protective effect on child health not only because more individual women are going to school, but also because everyone benefits from the education and empowerment of women in the community.

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