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The Weight of the Crisis: Evidence from Newborns in Argentina

Author

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  • Carlos Bozzoli
  • Climent Quintana-Domeque

Abstract

Argentina hit world news headlines in 2002 due to the largest debt-default in history and a sudden economic collapse reminiscent of economic statistics from the Great Depression. In this article, we focus on other consequences of the crisis that are not so obvious, but that may linger for decades on. Combining macroeconomic indicators with the Argentine national registry of live births, approximately 1.9 million live births occurring between 2001 and 2003, we show that the crisis led to an average birth weight loss of 30 grams. Our estimate is robust to different identification strategies. This deterioration in birth weight occurred in just about 6 months, and represents one sixth of the difference in average birth weight between American and Pakistani babies. We also find that the crisis affected particularly the weight of babies born from low-socioeconomic status mothers. In an attempt to estimate the long-lasting economic cost of the crisis, we simulate the average loss of future individual earnings due to the reduction in average birth weight: about 500 US dollars per live birth in present value.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Bozzoli & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2010. "The Weight of the Crisis: Evidence from Newborns in Argentina," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1054, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1054
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2006. "Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 290-302, March.
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    4. Savanti, Maria Paula & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2005. "Rising returns to schooling in Argentina, 1992-2002 : productivity or credentialism?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3714, The World Bank.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Asali , Muhammad, 2015. "Recessions are not good for your health: the counter-cyclical health outcomes revisited," European Economic Letters, European Economics Letters Group, vol. 4(1), pages 11-14.
    2. repec:eee:jhecon:v:59:y:2018:i:c:p:153-177 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Verónica Amarante & Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data," NBER Working Papers 17690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ainhoa Aparicio & Libertad González Luna, 2013. "Newborn health and the business cycle: Is it good to be born in bad times?," Economics Working Papers 1374, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2014.
    5. Kim, Bongkyun & Carruthers, Celeste K. & Harris, Matthew C., 2017. "Maternal stress and birth outcomes: Evidence from the 1994 Northridge earthquake," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 354-373.
    6. Foureaux Koppensteiner, Martin & Manacorda, Marco, 2016. "Violence and birth outcomes: Evidence from homicides in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 16-33.
    7. Fetzer, Thiemo & Pardo, Oliver & Shanghavi, Amar, 2016. "More than an Urban Legend: The long-term socioeconomic effects of unplanned fertility shocks," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 284, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    8. de Oliveira, Victor Hugo & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2014. "Early-life environment and adult stature in Brazil: An analysis for cohorts born between 1950 and 1980," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 67-80.
    9. Molina, Oswaldo & Saldarriaga, Victor, 2017. "The perils of climate change: In utero exposure to temperature variability and birth outcomes in the Andean region," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 111-124.
    10. George L. Wehby & Lucas G. Gimenez & Jorge S. López-Camelo, 2017. "The impact of unemployment cycles on child and maternal health in Argentina," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 62(2), pages 197-207, March.
    11. Carlson, Kyle, 2015. "Fear itself: The effects of distressing economic news on birth outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 117-132.
    12. Emanuele Millemaci & Dario Sciulli, 2014. "The long-term impact of family difficulties during childhood on labor market outcomes," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 663-687, December.
    13. Bejenariu, Simona & Mitrut, Andreea, 2012. "Austerity Measures and Infant Health. Lessons from an Unexpected Wage Cut Policy," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics, revised 10 Oct 2013.
    14. Kelkar, Vijay & Shah, Ajay, 2011. "Indian social democracy: The resource perspective," Working Papers 11/82, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    15. Gutierrez, Federico H., 2017. "Infant Health during the 1980s Peruvian Crisis and Long-term Economic Outcomes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 71-87.
    16. Richard Akresh & Sonia Bhalotra & Marinella Leone & Una O. Osili, 2017. "First and Second Generation Impacts of the Biafran War," NBER Working Papers 23721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Cruces, Guillermo & Glüzmann, Pablo & Calva, Luis Felipe López, 2012. "Economic Crises, Maternal and Infant Mortality, Low Birth Weight and Enrollment Rates: Evidence from Argentina’s Downturns," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 303-314.
    18. María Fernanda Rosales, 2014. "Impact of Early Life Shocks on Human Capital Formation: El Niño Floods in Ecuador," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 87693, Inter-American Development Bank.
    19. Lee, Soohyung & Orsini, Chiara, 2018. "Girls and Boys: Economic Crisis, Fertility, and Birth Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 11531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Lídia Farré, 2016. "New evidence on the healthy immigrant effect," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 365-394, April.
    21. Dobado-González, Rafael & Garcia-Hiernaux, Alfredo, 2017. "Two worlds apart: Determinants of height in late 18th century central Mexico," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 153-163.
    22. Vellore Arthi & Brian Beach & W. Walker Hanlon, 2017. "Estimating the Recession-Mortality Relationship when Migration Matters," NBER Working Papers 23507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0685-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Paul, Alexander & Reinhold, Steffen, 2018. "Economic Conditions, Parental Employment and Health of Newborns," IZA Discussion Papers 11338, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Argentina; birth weight; economic crisis;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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