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Labor market effects of intrauterine exposure to nutritional deficiency: Evidence from administrative data on Muslim immigrants in Denmark

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

Abstract

This paper examines whether nutritional disruptions experienced during the stage of fetal development impair an individual's labor market productivity later in life. We consider intrauterine exposure to the month of Ramadan as a natural experiment that might cause shocks to the inflow of nutrients essential for fetal development. Specifically, we use administrative data from Denmark to investigate the impact of exposure to Ramadan in utero on labor market outcomes of adult Muslim males, including employment status, annual salary, hourly wage rate, and hours of work. Our findings indicate that potential exposure to nutritional disruptions during a critical stage of fetal development is likely to have scarring effects on the fetus expressed as poor labor market outcomes later in life. Specifically, exposure to Ramadan around the 7th month of gestation results in a lower likelihood of employment and, to a lesser extent, a lower salary, and reduced labor supply. For example, the 7th month intrauterine exposure to Ramadan is associated with a 2.6 percentage points reduction in the likelihood of employment among Muslim males. We do not find an impact on the wage rate. Finally, we also document suggestive evidence that these results may partially be driven by increased disability and to a lesser extent by poor educational attainment among those who were exposed to Ramadan during this particular period in utero.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:21:y:2016:i:c:p:196-209
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2016.02.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Böckerman, Petri & Bryson, Alex & Viinikainen, Jutta & Hakulinen, Christian & Pulkki-Råback, Laura & Raitakari, Olli & Pehkonen, Jaakko, 2017. "Biomarkers and long-term labour market outcomes: The case of creatine," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 259-274.
    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. Diether Beuermann & Camilo Pecha & Juan Pedro Schmid, 2017. "The Effects of Weather Shocks on Early Childhood Development," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8543, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. Huzeyfe Torun & Semih Tumen, 2017. "The empirical content of season-of-birth effects: An investigation with Turkish data," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 37(57), pages 1825-1860, December.
    5. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Malnutrition; Employment; Ramadan; Denmark; Immigrant;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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