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The effects of birth weight: Does fetal origin really matter for long-run outcomes?

  • Nakamuro, Makiko
  • Uzuki, Yuka
  • Inui, Tomohiko
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    This paper investigates whether birth weight itself causes individuals’ future life chances. By using a sample of twins in Japan and controlling for the potential effects of genes and family backgrounds, we examine the effect of birth weight on later educational and economic outcomes. The most important finding is that birth weight has a causal effect on academic achievement around the age of 15, but not on the highest years of schooling and earnings.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

    Volume (Year): 121 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 53-58

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:121:y:2013:i:1:p:53-58
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    1. Bound, John & Solon, Gary, 1999. "Double trouble: on the value of twins-based estimation of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 169-182, April.
    2. Miller, Paul & Mulvey, Charles & Martin, Nick, 2005. "Birth weight and schooling and earnings: estimates from a sample of twins," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 387-392, March.
    3. Philip Oreopoulos & Mark Stabile & Randy Walld & Leslie L. Roos, 2008. "Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Consequences of Poor Infant Health: An Analysis Using Siblings and Twins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    4. Rosemary Hyson & Janet Currie, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 245-250, May.
    5. Janet Currie, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," NBER Working Papers 13987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2006. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19425, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Heather Royer, 2009. "Separated at Girth: US Twin Estimates of the Effects of Birth Weight," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 49-85, January.
    8. Lin, Ming-Jen & Liu, Jin-Tan, 2009. "Do lower birth weight babies have lower grades? Twin fixed effect and instrumental variable method evidence from Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 1780-1787, May.
    9. Neumark, David, 1999. "Biases in twin estimates of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 143-148, April.
    10. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
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