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The effect of ambient temperature shocks during conception and early pregnancy on later life outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Joshua Wilde

    (USF - University of South Florida)

  • Bénédicte H. Apouey

    (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

  • Toni Jung

    (AT&T - AT&T)

Abstract

A large body of research has recently shown that early life or in utero shocks, especially climatic shocks, may affect long-run human capital outcomes. Most of these effects are assumed to be biological – including poor nutrition during critical windows of fetal development, or through increased maternal stress. However, in addition to these biological effects, climatic conditions at the time of conception may also cause changes in parental behavior, not only affecting the mix of parents who conceive, but also the characteristics of the children once born. This paper explores whether increases in ambient temperature at the time of conception, while in utero, or after birth affect educational and health outcomes as adults. Using Census and Demographic and Health Survey data from sub-Saharan Africa, we show that individuals conceived during high temperatures have higher educational attainment and literacy. In addition, we find evidence of temperature effects at other times in utero, especially during the first trimester. We then explore the biological and behavioral mechanisms through which this effect may occur, including heat-induced changes in sexual behavior, differences in parental characteristics, and intensified fetal selection. We conclude that fetal selection is the most likely mechanism driving our result.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Wilde & Bénédicte H. Apouey & Toni Jung, 2017. "The effect of ambient temperature shocks during conception and early pregnancy on later life outcomes," Post-Print halshs-01579660, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01579660 DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2017.05.003 Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01579660
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua Wilde & Bénédicte H. Apouey & Gabriel Picone & Joseph Coleman, 2017. "The Effect of Antimalarial Campaigns on Child Mortality and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 0616, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Temperature; Conception; Fetal Origins; Fertility; Human Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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