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Height and cognitive achievement among Indian children

  • Spears, Dean
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    Taller children perform better on average on tests of cognitive achievement, in part because of differences in early-life health and net nutrition. Recent research documenting this height–achievement slope has primarily focused on rich countries. Using the India Human Development Survey, a representative sample of 40,000 households which matches anthropometric data to learning tests, this paper documents a height–achievement slope among Indian children. The height–achievement slope in India is more than twice as steep as in the U.S. An earlier survey interviewed some IHDS children's households eleven years before. Including matched early-life control variables reduces the apparent effect of height, but does not eliminate it; water, sanitation, and hygiene may be particularly important for children's outcomes. Being one standard deviation taller is associated with being 5 percentage points more likely to be able to write, a slope that falls only to 3.4 percentage points controlling for a long list of contemporary and early-life conditions.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 210-219

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:10:y:2012:i:2:p:210-219
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    1. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm P. & Heckman, James J. & Tremblay, Richard E., 2009. "Investing in early human development: Timing and economic efficiency," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-6, March.
    2. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Maitreesh Ghatak & Jeanne Lafortune, 2009. "Marry for What: Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India," NBER Working Papers 14958, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2006. "Stature and status: Height, ability, and labor market outcomes," Working Papers 232, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2010. "Causes And Consequences Of Early Life Health," Working Papers 1213, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    5. Klasen, Stephan, 2007. "Poverty, Undernutrition, and Child Mortality: Some Inter-Regional Puzzles and their Implications for Research and Policy," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 17, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    6. Geeta Kingdon, 2010. "Health, Nutrition and Academic Achievement: New Evidence from India," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2010. "Human Capital Development Before Age Five," NBER Working Papers 15827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Mahal, Ajay & Karan, Anup K., 2008. "Adequacy of dietary intakes and poverty in India: Trends in the 1990s," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 57-74, March.
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