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Month of birth and child height in 40 countries

Author

Listed:
  • Agarwal, Neha
  • Aiyar, Anaka
  • Bhattacharjee, Arpita
  • Cummins, Joseph
  • Gunadi, Christian
  • Singhania, Deepak
  • Taylor, Matthew
  • Wigton-Jones, Evan

Abstract

Lokshin and Radyakin (2012) present evidence that month of birth affects child physical growth in India. We replicate these correlations using the same data and demonstrate that they are the result of a spurious relationship between month of birth, age-at-measurement and child growth patterns in developing countries. We repeat the analysis on 39 additional countries and show that there is no evidence of seasonal birth effects in child height-for-age z-score in any country. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the Demographic and Health Survey data used to estimate the correlation is not suitable for the task due to a previously unrecognized source of measurement error in child month of birth. We document results from several papers that should be re-interpreted in light of this issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Agarwal, Neha & Aiyar, Anaka & Bhattacharjee, Arpita & Cummins, Joseph & Gunadi, Christian & Singhania, Deepak & Taylor, Matthew & Wigton-Jones, Evan, 2017. "Month of birth and child height in 40 countries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 10-13.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:157:y:2017:i:c:p:10-13
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2017.05.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael Lokshin & Sergiy Radyakin, 2012. "Month of Birth and Children’s Health in India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(1), pages 174-203.
    2. Mulmi, Prajula & Block, Steven A. & Shively, Gerald E. & Masters, William A., 2016. "Climatic conditions and child height: Sex-specific vulnerability and the protective effects of sanitation and food markets in Nepal," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 63-75.
    3. Kasey S. Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2013. "Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 711-724, July.
    4. Brainerd, Elizabeth & Menon, Nidhiya, 2014. "Seasonal effects of water quality: The hidden costs of the Green Revolution to infant and child health in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 49-64.
    5. Sailesh Tiwari & Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2017. "Monsoon Babies: Rainfall Shocks and Child Nutrition in Nepal," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(2), pages 167-188.
    6. Joseph Cummins, 2013. "On the Use and Misuse of Child Height-for-Age Z-score in the Demographic and Health Surveys," Working Papers 201417, University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Larsen, Anna F. & Headey, Derek & Masters, William A., 2017. "Misreporting Month of Birth: Implications for Research on Nutrition and Early Childhood in Low-Income Countries," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258554, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Anna Folke Larsen & Derek Headey & William A. Masters, 2019. "Misreporting Month of Birth: Diagnosis and Implications for Research on Nutrition and Early Childhood in Developing Countries," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(2), pages 707-728, April.
    3. Brown,Caitlin Susan & Ravallion,Martin & Van De Walle,Dominique, 2017. "Are poor individuals mainly found in poor households ? evidence using nutrition data for Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8001, The World Bank.
    4. Gupta, Aashish, 2020. "Seasonal variation in infant mortality in India," SocArXiv x4rv7, Center for Open Science.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child health; Month of birth; Anthropometrics; Demographic & health survey;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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