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Biology as Destiny? Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Intergenerational Transmission of Birth Weight

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  • Janet Currie
  • Enrico Moretti

Abstract

We use a unique data set of California births to ask whether intergenerational correlations in health contribute to the perpetuation of economic status. We find that if a mother was low birth weight, her child is significantly more likely to be low birth weight, even when we compare mothers who are sisters. Second, the intergenerational transmission of low birth weight is stronger for mothers in high poverty zip codes. Third, low birth weight affects proxies for later socioeconomic status. Fourth, these effects are stronger for women born in high poverty zip codes.

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2007. "Biology as Destiny? Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Intergenerational Transmission of Birth Weight," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 231-264.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:25:y:2007:p:231-264
    DOI: 10.1086/511377
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    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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