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The impact of altitude on infant health in South America

  • Wehby, George L.
  • Castilla, Eduardo E.
  • Lopez-Camelo, Jorge
Registered author(s):

    Several studies report that altitude reduces birth weight. However, much remains unknown about effects in various altitude ranges and about the heterogeneity in altitude effects by fetal health endowments. This study estimates the effects of altitude in South America on the means and quantiles of birth weight and gestational age separately for two large samples born at altitude ranges of 5 to 1,280Â m and 1,854 to 3,600Â m. The study finds significant negative altitude effects on birth weight and gestational age in the low-altitude sample and on birth weight in the high-altitude sample. Altitude effects are larger for infants with very low fetal health endowments. The study finds differences in the effects of several inputs such as socioeconomic status and maternal fertility history and health between the two altitude samples. The study highlights the importance of adverse altitude effects on infant health when evaluating the costs and returns of policies that change the number of individuals who reside at higher altitude in both low and high altitude ranges.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B73DX-506J0KY-1/2/50a10b84de706c971fceb3fc1bd5a1cc
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (July)
    Pages: 197-211

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:2:p:197-211
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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    1. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2004. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 10552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    3. Chaikind, Stephen & Corman, Hope, 1991. "The impact of low birthweight on special education costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 291-311, October.
    4. George L. Wehby & Jeffrey C. Murray & Eduardo E. Castilla & Jorge S. Lopez-Camelo & Robert L. Ohsfeldt, 2009. "Quantile effects of prenatal care utilization on birth weight in Argentina," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(11), pages 1307-1321.
    5. Geoffrey Warner, 1998. "Birthweight Productivity of Prenatal Care," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(1), pages 42-63, July.
    6. Conway, Karen Smith & Deb, Partha, 2005. "Is prenatal care really ineffective? Or, is the 'devil' in the distribution?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 489-513, May.
    7. Wehby, George L. & Murray, Jeffrey C. & Castilla, Eduardo E. & Lopez-Camelo, Jorge S. & Ohsfeldt, Robert L., 2009. "Prenatal care demand and its effects on birth outcomes by birth defect status in Argentina," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 84-95, March.
    8. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
    9. Marini, Alessandra & Gragnolati, Michele, 2006. "Nonlinear effects of altitude on child growth in Peru : a multilevel analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3823, The World Bank.
    10. Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2007. "Cognitive Development among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health, and Parenting," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
    11. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
    12. Roger Koenker & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Quantile Regression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 143-156, Fall.
    13. Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2005. "An IV Model of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 245-261, 01.
    14. Warner, Geoffrey L, 1995. "Prenatal Care Demand and Birthweight Production of Black Mothers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 132-37, May.
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