Year of Publication: 2012
Abstract: Although there is wide agreement that the promotion of family planning lowers fertility, it is not clear to what extent greater contraceptive use and smaller family sizes will enhance investment in human capital and economic growth or what are the consequences of unwanted or unintended childbearing on children’s life chances. We inform this debate by analyzing data on fertility intentions and children’s anthropometric measures collected as part of an on-going Demographic Surveillance Site (DSS) in Karonga District in Northern Malawi. We applied Propensity Score Matching to assess the effect of ‘unintendedness’ on child growth. The study shows that having an unintended birth has an effect on the probability of being stunted on the siblings of the index child but not on the probability of being stunted on the index child themselves. We also found that this effect is stronger for children who have other siblings born less than 2 years apart.