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Child height, health and human capital: evidence using genetic markers

Listed author(s):
  • Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder
  • George Davey Smith
  • Debbie A. Lawlor
  • Carol Propper
  • Frank Windmeijer

    ()

Height has long been recognised as associated with better outcomes: the question is whether this association is causal. We use children’s genetic variants as instrumental variables (IV) to deal with possible unobserved confounders and examine the effect of child and adolescent height on a wide range of outcomes: academic performance, IQ, self-esteem, symptoms related to depression and behavioural problems, including hyperactivity, emotional, conduct and peer problems. OLS findings show that taller children have higher IQ scores, perform better in school tests, and are less likely to have emotional or peer problems. The IV results differ. They show that taller children have better cognitive performance but, in contrast to the OLS, indicate that taller children are more likely to have behavioural problems. The magnitude of these IV estimates is large. For example, the effect of one standard deviation increase in height on IQ is comparable to the IQ difference for children born approximately 6 months apart within the same school year, while the increase in hyperactivity is comparable to the raw difference in hyperactivity between boys and girls.

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File URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2010/wp245.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 10/245.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:10/245
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  3. Pyett, Priscilla & Rayner, Jo & Venn, Alison & Bruinsma, Fiona & Werther, George & Lumley, Judith, 2005. "Using hormone treatment to reduce the adult height of tall girls: Are women satisfied with the decision in later years?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(8), pages 1629-1639, October.
  4. repec:pri:rpdevs:case_and_paxson_early_life_health_w15637 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. repec:pri:cheawb:case_and_paxson_early_life_health_w15637 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2010. "Causes and Consequences of Early Life Health," Working Papers 1214, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
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  8. Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder & George Davey Smith & Debbie A. Lawlor & Carol Propper & Frank Windmeijer, 2011. "Mendelian randomization: the use of genes in instrumental variable analyses," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 893-896, 08.
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  15. Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder & George Davey Smith & Debbie A. Lawlor & Carol Propper & Frank Windmeijer, 2011. "Genetic Markers as Instrumental Variables," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/274, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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