Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


Effect of Maternal Time Use on Food Intake of Young Children In Bangladesh


 Monica Jain

 International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC

Thursday, 14th May 2015 at 3:00 PM

Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

All are cordially invited

Complementary child feeding practices are poor in Bangladesh and they have improved minimally over time, especially for children 6-23 months. We test if this is partly due to the lack of time the mothers have to prepare food and feed the children. We use panel data on time use of women across three agricultural seasons in 1996-97 to test this hypothesis. We find that women spend around two hours per day on exclusive child care time, which does not vary significantly by income, education or agricultural season, although boys are favored. In the higher intensity agricultural seasons the majority of women reduce their cooking time. Women also combine child care with their other work for more than two hours every day; the extent of multi-tasking does not differ by education level of women or gender composition of children. Married women 15-49 years old themselves eat less when they spend less time on cooking, and the effect is stronger for those with children 0-5 years. For the male head in these households the effect is smaller in magnitude and less robust. The women’s cooking time does not affect the food consumption of their children either 6-23 or 24-59 months old, but there is some evidence of discrimination in favor of boys. The exclusive child care time has no effect on food consumption of children 6-23 months old, but there is some evidence of negative effect on food consumption of children 24-59 months and on girls. Multi-tasking child care time has no consistent effect on food intake of children either by age or gender. Maternal time on work outside home has a positive effect on their own and somewhat on their sons’ food consumption.

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