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The China Great Leap Forward Famine: The Lasting Impact of Mothers’ Fetal Malnutrition on Their Offspring

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Author Info

  • Belton M. Fleisher

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Ohio State University)

  • Seonghoon Kim

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Ohio State University)

Abstract

Mothers born around the China Great Leap Forward Famine (famine-born mothers) are likely to have worse adult outcomes due to a negative relationship between fetal malnutrition and their health and cognitive ability. Using data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, I investigate whether famine-born mothers transmit less human capital to their offspring through various channels, including less cognitive ability and other innate traits and by the choice of less investment in children’s human capital. My study also focuses on possible gender differences in these effects. I find that in-utero famine experience of famine-born mothers is negatively related to the education and labor outcomes of their offspring. However, female children are less affected by mothers’ famine experience than are men. This outcome suggests that Trivers-Willard (1973) effects dominate parental-choice effects despite the well-known son-preference of China.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/pdf/fleisher/wp09-04.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ohio State University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 09-04.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:osu:osuewp:09-04

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Related research

Keywords: Gender difference; Malnutrition; Health; Labor Market Outcomes; Schooling; Barker hypothesis; Trivers-Willard hypothesis; China Famine;

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  1. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang, 2007. "Long-Term Effects Of The 1959-1961 China Famine: Mainland China and Hong Kong," NBER Working Papers 13384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Xin Meng & Nancy Qian, 2009. "The Long Term Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from a Unique Natural Experiment using China's Great Famine," NBER Working Papers 14917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "The effects of maternal fasting during Ramadan on birth and adult outcomes," Working Paper Series WP-07-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. 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.
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