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The Weight of the Crisis: Evidence from Newborns in Argentina

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  • Carlos Bozzoli
  • Climent Quintana-Domeque

Abstract

Argentina hit world news headlines in 2002 due to the largest debt-default in history and a sudden economic collapse reminiscent of economic statistics from the Great Depression. In this article, we focus on other consequences of the crisis that are not so obvious, but that may linger for decades on. Combining macroeconomic indicators with the Argentine national registry of live births, approximately 1.9 million live births occurring between 2001 and 2003, we show that the crisis led to an average birth weight loss of 30 grams. Our estimate is robust to different identification strategies. This deterioration in birth weight occurred in just about 6 months, and represents one sixth of the difference in average birth weight between American and Pakistani babies. We also find that the crisis affected particularly the weight of babies born from low-socioeconomic status mothers. In an attempt to estimate the long-lasting economic cost of the crisis, we simulate the average loss of future individual earnings due to the reduction in average birth weight: about 500 US dollars per live birth in present value.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 1054.

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Length: 28 , Tab. p.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1054

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Keywords: Argentina; birth weight; economic crisis;

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References

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  1. Savanti, Maria Paula & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2005. "Rising returns to schooling in Argentina, 1992-2002 : productivity or credentialism?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3714, The World Bank.
  2. 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.
  3. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
  4. Heather Royer, 2009. "Separated at Girth: US Twin Estimates of the Effects of Birth Weight," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 49-85, January.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. An unexpected consequence of crises: birth weight loss
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-11-04 15:37:00
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Cited by:
  1. Amarante, Veronica & Manacorda, Marco & Miguel, Edward & Vigorito, Andrea, 2012. "Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 8740, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Guillermo Cruces & Pablo Glüzman & Luis Felipe López Calva, 2011. "Economic Crises, Maternal and Infant Mortality, Low Birth Weight and Enrollment Rates: Evidence from Argentina’s Downturns," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0121, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  3. Bejenariu, Simona & Mitrut, Andreea, 2012. "Austerity Measures and Infant Health. Lessons from an Unexpected Wage Cut Policy," Working Paper Series 2012:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics, revised 10 Oct 2013.
  4. Kelkar, Vijay & Shah, Ajay, 2011. "Indian social democracy: The resource perspective," Working Papers 11/82, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

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