The literature on the duration of time women in Sub-Saharan Africa prefer to wait before having a child, that is, child spacing, typically focuses on future (or ex-post) birth spacing preferences. Specifically, for pregnant women, previous studies focus on birth spacing preferences after the birth of the child and before the birth of the next child. For nonpregnant women, previous studies concentrate on child spacing preferences in the future before the birth of a child. The emphasis on future birth spacing preferences has a weakness: the absence of an analysis on prior or ex-ante birth spacing preferences since the birth of the last child and before the birth of the next child. We fill this gap in the literature. Such an analysis is worthwhile because we complement past studies by completing the continuum of birth spacing preferences along the entire conditional distribution of birth spacing intentions. Additionally, previous studies overlook the possibility of endogenous covariates in their estimates. We address this shortcoming by exploiting exogenous variation triggered by whether an individual resides in a home connected to electricity to explore factors that may influence ex-ante birth spacing preferences. We find that urban living prolongs child spacing by at least 5 months.

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