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High Birth Weight and Cognitive Outcomes

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  • Resul Cesur
  • Inas Rashad

Abstract

While the effects of low birth weight have long been explored, those of high birth weight have been essentially ignored. Economists have analyzed the negative effects that low birth weight might have on subsequent school outcomes, while taking into account unobserved characteristics that may be common to families with low birth weight babies and negative outcomes in terms of school test scores when children, in addition to labor market income when adults. Today, however, with increasing obesity rates in the United States, high birth weight has become a potential concern, and has been associated in the medical literature with an increased likelihood of becoming an overweight child, adolescent, and subsequently an obese adult. Overweight and obesity, in turn, are associated with a host of negative effects, including lower test scores in school and lower labor market prospects when adults. If studies only focus on low birth weight, they may underestimate the effects of ensuring that mothers receive adequate support during pregnancy. In this study we find that cognitive outcomes are adversely affected not only by low birth weight ( 4500 grams). Our results have policy implications in terms of provision of support for pregnant women.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14524.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Publication status: published as Cesur, Resul; Kelly, Inas Rashad. From Cradle to Classroom: High Birth Weight and Cognitive Outcomes. Forum for Health Economics and Policy, Vol. 13: Iss. 2 (Health Economics), Article 2, 2010.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14524

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  1. Theodore Joyce, 1990. "Self-Selection, Prenatal Care, and Birthweight Among Blacks, Whites and Hispanics in New York City," NBER Working Papers 3549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jasmin Kantarevic & Stéphane Mechoulan, 2006. "Birth Order, Educational Attainment, and Earnings: An Investigation Using the PSID," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
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Cited by:
  1. T. Paul Schultz, 2009. "Population and Health Policies," Working Papers 974, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  2. Marcus Tamm, 2009. "The Impact of a Large Parental Leave Benefit Reform on the Timing of Birth around the Day of Implementation," Ruhr Economic Papers 0098, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  3. Gail Pacheco & Mary Hedges & Chris Schilling & Susan Morton, 2011. "Pre and post natal drivers of childhood intelligence: Evidence from Singapore," Working Papers 2011-04, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
  4. Carbone, Jared C. & Kverndokk, Snorre, 2014. "Individual investments in education and health," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2014:1, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
  5. Jaimee Stuart & Gail Pacheco & Susan Morton, . "Monkey see, monkey do? How do shifts in parental socio-economic class influence children's outcomes?," Working Papers 2013-07, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.

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