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Height, education and later-life cognition in Latin America and the Caribbean

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  • Maurer, Jürgen

Abstract

Building on previous evidence from the U.S., this study investigates the relationship between anthropometric markers (height and knee height), early-life conditions, education, and cognitive function in later life among urban elderly from Latin America and the Caribbean. I document a positive association between height and later-life cognitive function, which is larger for women than for men. This sex difference increases when I address potential feedback effects from mid- and later-life circumstances on stature by using knee height as an instrument for height. Specifically, while the estimates for women remain largely unchanged, I only find a diminished and statistically insignificant association between instrumented height and later-life cognition for men. This finding suggests that at least part of the association between height and later-life cognition among men may stem from common third factors that are correlated with both height and later-life cognition, such as adverse occupational exposures or health events during mid- and later life. Extended models that also include education further diminish the association between height and later-life cognition. Education displays strong positive gradients with the employed measures of childhood circumstances - including height - which points to education as a potential pathway linking early-life conditions and later-life cognitive function.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 168-176

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:2:p:168-176

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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Keywords: Early-life conditions Later-life cognitive function Height Knee height Physical stature Latin America Caribbean;

References

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  1. Preston, Samuel H. & Hill, Mark E. & Drevenstedt, Greg L., 1998. "Childhood conditions that predict survival to advanced ages among African-Americans," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(9), pages 1231-1246, November.
  2. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2008. "Height, Health, and Cognitive Function at Older Ages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 463-67, May.
  3. Peck, Maria Nyström & Lundberg, Olle, 1995. "Short stature as an effect of economic and social conditions in childhood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 733-738, September.
  4. Glewwe, Paul & Miguel, Edward A., 2008. "The Impact of Child Health and Nutrition on Education in Less Developed Countries," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  5. Kathryn Yount, 2008. "Gender, resources across the life course, and cognitive functioning in Egypt," Demography, Springer, vol. 45(4), pages 907-926, November.
  6. Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2006. "Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 290-302, March.
  7. Cole, T. J., 2003. "The secular trend in human physical growth: a biological view," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 161-168, June.
  8. Jürgen Maurer, 2011. "Education and Male-Female Differences in Later-Life Cognition: International Evidence From Latin America and the Caribbean," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 915-930, August.
  9. Newey, Whitney K., 1987. "Efficient estimation of limited dependent variable models with endogenous explanatory variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 231-250, November.
  10. Robert William Fogel, 1993. "New Sources and New Techniques for the Study of Secular Trends in Nutritional Status, Health, Mortality, and the Process of Aging," NBER Historical Working Papers 0026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Alan Fernihough & Mark E. McGovern, . "Physical Stature Decline and the Health Status of the Elderly Population in England," PGDA Working Papers 11214, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  2. Luis Aranda & Martin Daniel Siyaranamual, 2014. "Are Smarter People Better Samaritans? Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Pro-Social Behaviors," Working Papers in Economics and Development Studies (WoPEDS) 201405, Department of Economics, Padjadjaran University, revised May 2014.
  3. Huang, Wei & Lei, Xiaoyan & Ridder, Geert & Strauss, John & Zhao, Yaohui, 2012. "Health, Height, Height Shrinkage and SES at Older Ages: Evidence from China," IZA Discussion Papers 6489, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Tom S. Vogl, 2012. "Education and Health in Developing Economies," Working Papers 1453, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  5. Luis Aranda & Martin Siyaranamual, 2014. "Are Smarter People Better Samaritans? Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Pro-Social Behaviors," Working Papers 2014:06, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".

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