Youth Reproductive Health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Is Governance Part of the Problem?
We establish the importance of government corruption and youth literacy for their effects on Youth Reproductive Health (YRH), with particularly strong effects on adolescent girls, in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We identify the magnitude of these previously unspecified factors in the reproductive health of young people by controlling for the commonly cited influences of poverty and social inequality. We also measure the policy-mediated effects of ethnic diversity on women’s ages at marriage, the marriage age-gap, the age at first sexual encounter, and the prevalence of sexual encounters before age 15. Our analysis highlights the interplay of these factors in a region where there is high risk for sexually-transmitted diseases (STD).We account for the possible endogeneity of youth literacy when used as a predictor of YRH. Our crosscountry Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and Instrumental Variable (IV) regressions show that corruption, ethnic fractionalization and youth literacy are powerful predictors of YRH.
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