Impact of Parental Socioeconomic Status on Child Health Outcomes in Kenya**
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW-REVUE AFRICAINE DE DEVELOPPEMENT
It is widely acknowledged that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Most developing countries such as Kenya record unfavourable indicators of population health. Existing literature recognizes the bidirectional causality between health and economic growth and development, though credible information on the causal links is scarce. Various studies show that parental characteristics have important influences on early child health. Such studies are few and report mixed findings. This study aimed to understand and demonstrate the impact of parental socioeconomic status on child health outcomes in Kenya using data from the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey 2005/2006, focusing on maternal labour force participation. We used two-stage least squares instrumental variable methods and the control function approach to cater for endogeneity, unobserved heterogeneity and non-linear interactions to estimate the causal links between child health outcomes and parental socioeconomic status. Diagnostic tests for relevance, validity and strength of instruments for endogenous regressors showed instruments were relevant, valid but weak. Our findings showed that maternal labour force participation has a positive but insignificant effect on child stunting and a combined indicator of stunting and wasting. We recommend policy that supports the provision of work opportunities for mothers will enhance child health outcomes in Kenya.