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Fetal malnutrition and academic success: Evidence from Muslim immigrants in Denmark

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  • Greve, Jane
  • Schultz-Nielsen, Marie Louise
  • Tekin, Erdal

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of potential fetal malnutrition on the academic test scores of Muslim students in Denmark. We account for the endogeneity of fetal malnutrition by using exposure to the month of Ramadan as a natural experiment under the assumption that mothers of some of the Muslim students might have fasted during Ramadan when they were pregnant. We also complement our Muslim sample with a control group comprised of immigrant children from predominantly non-Muslim countries in a difference-in-differences framework. Our outcome measures are the standardized test scores from the national exams on the subjects of Danish, English, Mathematics, and Science administered by the Danish Ministry of Education. Our results indicate that fetal exposure to Ramadan is likely to have a negative impact on the achievement scores of Muslim students, especially among females. Our analysis further reveals that the estimated relationship is stronger among children with a relatively low socio-economic background. Our findings lend support for the importance of interventions designed to assist economically disadvantaged women during pregnancy.

Suggested Citation

  • Greve, Jane & Schultz-Nielsen, Marie Louise & Tekin, Erdal, 2017. "Fetal malnutrition and academic success: Evidence from Muslim immigrants in Denmark," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 20-35.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:20-35
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2017.07.008
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    Cited by:

    1. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," NBER Working Papers 23017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Schultz-Nielsen, Marie Louise & Tekin, Erdal & Greve, Jane, 2016. "Labor market effects of intrauterine exposure to nutritional deficiency: Evidence from administrative data on Muslim immigrants in Denmark," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 196-209.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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