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Genetic lotteries within families

  • Fletcher, Jason M.
  • Lehrer, Steven F.

Drawing on findings from the biomedical literature, this paper introduces the idea that specific exogenously inherited differences in the genetic code between full biological siblings can be used to test within-family estimators and potentially improve our understanding of economic relationships. These points are illustrated with an application to identify the causal impact of several poor health conditions on academic outcomes. We present evidence that family fixed effects estimators by themselves cannot fully account for the endogeneity of poor health when estimating education production functions. Further, our analysis elucidates the situations under which genetic markers can serve as instrumental variables for specific health conditions.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 647-659

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:30:y:2011:i:4:p:647-659
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
  2. S Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Childrens Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0050, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  3. Cragg, John G. & Donald, Stephen G., 1993. "Testing Identifiability and Specification in Instrumental Variable Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 222-240, April.
  4. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2009. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1729-1772.
  5. Edward C Norton & Euna Han, 2007. "Genetic Information, Obesity, and Labor Market Outcomes," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 07/15, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  6. 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.
  7. Kleibergen, Frank & Paap, Richard, 2006. "Generalized reduced rank tests using the singular value decomposition," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 97-126, July.
  8. Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1976. "Intergenerational Transmission of Income and Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 436-40, May.
  9. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2004. "Child Mental Health and Human Capital Accumulation: The Case of ADHD," NBER Working Papers 10435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ding, Weili & Lehrer, Steven F. & Rosenquist, J.Niels & Audrain-McGovern, Janet, 2009. "The impact of poor health on academic performance: New evidence using genetic markers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 578-597, May.
  11. Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer & J. Niels Rosenquist & Janet Audrain-McGovern, 2006. "The Impact of Poor Health on Education: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers," NBER Working Papers 12304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. D. Klepinger & S. Lundberg & R. Plotnick, . "How Does Adolescent Fertility Affect the Human Capital and Wages of Young Women?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1145-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  13. Fletcher, Jason & Wolfe, Barbara, 2008. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD revisited," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 794-800, May.
  14. Robert Kaestner & Michael Grossman, 2008. "Effects of Weight on Children's Educational Achievement," NBER Working Papers 13764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Fletcher Jason M. & Lehrer Steven F, 2009. "The Effects of Adolescent Health on Educational Outcomes: Causal Evidence Using Genetic Lotteries between Siblings," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-33, September.
  16. Joshua D. Angrist & William N. Evans, 1996. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," NBER Working Papers 5778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jason M. Fletcher, 2010. "Adolescent depression and educational attainment: results using sibling fixed effects," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7), pages 855-871.
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