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The Weight of the Crisis: Evidence from Newborns in Argentina

Author

Listed:
  • 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

    as
    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.
    3. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Argentina; birth weight; economic crisis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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