Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Maternal Fasting During Pregnancy
AbstractWe use the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as a natural experiment in fasting and fetal health. In Michigan births 1989-2006, we find prenatal exposure to Ramadan among Arab mothers results in lower birthweight and reduced gestation length. Exposure to Ramadan in the first month of gestation is also associated with a sizable reduction in the number of male births. In Census data for Uganda, Iraq, and the US we find strong associations between in utero exposure to Ramadan and the likelihood of being disabled as an adult. Effects are particularly large for mental (or learning) disabilities. We also find significant effects on proxies for wealth, earnings, the sex composition of the adult population, and more suggestive evidence of effects on schooling. We find no evidence that negative selection in conceptions during Ramadan accounts for our findings, suggesting that avoiding Ramadan exposure during pregnancy is costly or the long-term effects of fasting unknown.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14428.
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Note: AG CH HE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
- J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kasey Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008.
"Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers,"
NBER Working Papers
14573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kasey S. Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2013. "Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 711-724, July.
- Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007.
"The Technology of Skill Formation,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Amitabh Chandra, 1999. "Taxes and the Timing of Birth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 161-177, February.
- Karen Norberg, 2004. "Partnership Status and the Human Sex Ratio at Birth," NBER Working Papers 10920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Heckman, James J., 2007.
"The Economics, Technology and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2875, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- James J. Heckman, 2007. "The Economics, Technology and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation," NBER Working Papers 13195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
- Dora L. Costa & Joanna N. Lahey, 2005. "Predicting Older Age Mortality Trends," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 487-493, 04/05.
- van Ewijk, Reyn, 2011.
"Long-term health effects on the next generation of Ramadan fasting during pregnancy,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1246-1260.
- Reyn van Ewijk, 2009. "Long-Term Health Effects on the Next Generation of Ramadan Fasting During Pregnancy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0926, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Doblhammer, Gabriele & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Fritze, Thomas, 2011.
"Economic conditions at the time of birth and cognitive abilities late in life: evidence from eleven European countries,"
Working Paper Series
2011:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
- Doblhammer, Gabriele & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Fritze, Thomas, 2011. "Economic Conditions at the Time of Birth and Cognitive Abilities Late in Life: Evidence from Eleven European Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 5940, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.