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Do lower birth weight babies have lower grades? Twin fixed effect and instrumental variable method evidence from Taiwan


  • Lin, Ming-Jen
  • Liu, Jin-Tan


By combining two unique Taiwanese datasets, this paper investigates how birth weight affects grades at age 15 years. To tackle the endogeneity problem caused by omitted variables, we first compare birth weight and grade variation within twins. We find that birth weight does increase grades but only when both twins weigh less than 3000Â g at birth, which indicates that the effect is non-linear, and when the weight difference between the twins is larger than 200Â g. Furthermore, twin fixed effect estimates are similar to the ordinary least squares (OLSs) ones. We then use the public health budget and the number of doctors in the county where the children were born as instrumental variables for the children's birth weight. We found that instrumental variable estimates are significant only for the less educated (

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  • Lin, Ming-Jen & Liu, Jin-Tan, 2009. "Do lower birth weight babies have lower grades? Twin fixed effect and instrumental variable method evidence from Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 1780-1787, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:68:y:2009:i:10:p:1780-1787

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
    2. Jason Boardman & Daniel Powers & Yolanda Padilla & Robert Hummer, 2002. "Low birth weight, social factors, and developmental outcomes among children in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(2), pages 353-368, May.
    3. Joshua D. Angrist, 2004. "Treatment effect heterogeneity in theory and practice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages 52-83, March.
    4. Ming-Jen Lin & Jin-Tan Liu & Shin-Yi Chou, 2007. "As low birth weight babies grow, can well-educated parents buffer this adverse factor? A research note," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(2), pages 335-343, May.
    5. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    6. Rosemary Hyson & Janet Currie, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 245-250, May.
    7. Philip Oreopoulos & Mark Stabile & Randy Walld & Leslie L. Roos, 2008. "Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Consequences of Poor Infant Health: An Analysis Using Siblings and Twins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    8. Conley, Dalton & Strully, Kate W. & Bennett, Neil G., 2006. "Twin differences in birth weight: The effects of genotype and prenatal environment on neonatal and post-neonatal mortality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 151-183, June.
    9. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1995. "Sisters, Siblings, and Mothers: The Effect of Teen-Age Childbearing on Birth Outcomes in a Dynamic Family Context," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 303-326, March.
    10. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083.
    11. Evans, William N. & Ringel, Jeanne S., 1999. "Can higher cigarette taxes improve birth outcomes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 135-154, April.
    12. Ming-Jen Lin & Jin-Tan Liu & Shin-Yi Chou, 2007. "As Low Birth Weight Babies Grow, Can 'Good' Parents Buffer this Adverse Factor? A Research Note," NBER Working Papers 12857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
    14. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/317 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Michael P. Murray, 2006. "Avoiding Invalid Instruments and Coping with Weak Instruments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 111-132, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Mark E. Mcgovern, 2013. "Still Unequal at Birth: Birth Weight,Socio-economic Status and Outcomes at Age 9," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 44(1), pages 53-84.
    3. Nakamuro, Makiko & Uzuki, Yuka & Inui, Tomohiko, 2013. "The effects of birth weight: Does fetal origin really matter for long-run outcomes?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 53-58.
    4. Lin, Ming-Jen & Liu, Elaine M., 2014. "Does in utero exposure to Illness matter? The 1918 influenza epidemic in Taiwan as a natural experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 152-163.
    5. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2011. "Estimating the relation between health and education: What do we know and what do we need to know?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 778-791, October.


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