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From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Black, Sandra E.
  • Devereux, Paul J.
  • Salvanes, Kjell G.

Abstract

Lower birth weight babies have worse outcomes, both short-run in terms of one year mortality rates and longer run in terms of educational attainment and earnings. However, recent research has called into question whether birth weight itself is important or whether it simply reflects other hard-to-measure haracteristics. By applying within twin techniques using a unique dataset from Norway, we xamine both short-run and long-run outcomes for the same cohorts. We find that birth weight does matter; very small short-run fixed effect estimates can be misleading because longer-run effects on outcomes such as height, IQ, earnings, and education are significant and similar in magnitude to OLS estimates. Our estimates suggest that eliminating birth weight differences between socio-economic groups would have sizeable effects on the later outcomes of children from poorer families

Suggested Citation

  • Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2006. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19425, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19425
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19425/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700.
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    8. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_impact_childhood_health is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ashlesha Datar & M. Rebecca Kilburn & David S Loughran, 2006. "Health Endowments and Parental Investments in Infancy and Early Childhood," Working Papers 367, RAND Corporation.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour Market Outcomes; Educational Attainment; Birth Weight;

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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