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

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the impact of attending school on body weight and obesity. We use school starting age cutoff dates to compare weight outcomes for similar age children with different years of school exposure. 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 actual exposure is instrumented with expected exposure based on school starting dates and birthday, the significant positive effects disappear, and most point estimates become negative and insignificant. However, for children not eating the school lunch, there is a significant negative effect on the probability of being overweight.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16673.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Publication status: published as Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Cascio, Elizabeth U. & Schanzenbach, Diaane Whitmore, 2011. "Is Being in School Better? The Impact of School on Children's BMI When Starting Age is Endogeneous" Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), 977-986, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16673

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  1. 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.
  2. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2008. "The Lengthening of Childhood," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 71-92, Summer.
  3. Dobkin, Carlos & Ferreira, Fernando, 2010. "Do school entry laws affect educational attainment and labor market outcomes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 40-54, February.
  4. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  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. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. 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).
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Cited by:
  1. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, 09.

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