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Is being in school better? The impact of school on children's BMI when starting age is endogenous

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  • Anderson, Patricia M.
  • Butcher, Kristin F.
  • Cascio, Elizabeth U.
  • Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the impact of attending school on body weight and obesity using a regression-discontinuity design. As is the case with academic outcomes, school exposure is related to unobserved determinants of weight outcomes because some families choose to have their child start school late (or early). If one does not account for this endogeneity, it appears that an additional year of school exposure results in a greater BMI and a higher probability of being overweight or obese. When we compare the weight outcomes of similar age children with one versus two years of school exposure due to regulations on school starting age, the significant positive effects disappear, and most point estimates become negative, but insignificant. However, additional school exposure appears to improve weight outcomes of children for whom the transition to elementary school represents a more dramatic change in environment (those who spent less time in childcare prior to kindergarten).

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 977-986

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:30:y:2011:i:5:p:977-986

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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Keywords: Childhood obesity; School health policies; School starting age;

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References

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  1. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2008. "The Lengthening of Childhood," NBER Working Papers 14124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Carlos Dobkin & Fernando Ferreira, 2009. "Do School Entry Laws Affect Educational Attainment and Labor Market Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 14945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2011. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 158-95, February.
  6. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Ethan G. Lewis, 2006. "Schooling and the Armed Forces Qualifying Test: Evidence from School-Entry Laws," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  8. David Frisvold & Julie C. Lumeng, 2009. "Expanding Exposure: Can Increasing the Daily Duration of Head Start Reduce Childhood Obesity?," Emory Economics 0906, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  9. William T. Gormley, Jr. & Ted Gayer, 2005. "Promoting School Readiness in Oklahoma: An Evaluation of Tulsa's Pre-K Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
  10. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding differences in health behaviors by education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-28, January.
  11. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
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Cited by:
  1. Papoutsi, Georgia & Drichoutis, Andreas & Nayga, Rodolfo, 2011. "The causes of childhood obesity: A survey," MPRA Paper 30992, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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