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Fetus, Fasting, and Festival: The Persistent Effects of in Utero Social Shocks

Listed author(s):
  • Chen, Xi

    ()

    (Yale University)

Registered author(s):

The fetal origins hypothesis (hereafter FOH), put forward in the epidemiological literature and later flourished in the economics literature, suggests that the time in utero is a critical period for human development. However, much attention has been paid to the consequences of fetal exposures to more extreme natural shocks, while less is known about fetal exposures to milder but more commonly experienced social shocks. Using two examples of under-nutrition due to mild social shocks, i.e. Ramadan fasting and festival overspending, this paper summarizes our current knowledge, especially the contribution from economics, and key challenges in exploring fetal exposures to milder social shocks. I also discuss the salient added value of identifying milder versus more extreme fetal shocks. Finally, implications are drawn on individual decisions and public policy to improve children's well-being before they are born or even before their mothers realize that they are pregnant.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8494.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8494
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  1. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND discussion papers 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder & Reyn van Ewijk, 2011. "Fasting During Pregnancy and Children's Academic Performance," NBER Working Papers 17713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2012. "Costly posturing: relative status, ceremonies and early child development in China:," IFPRI discussion papers 1206, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Chen, Xi & Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Peer effects, risk pooling, and status seeking: What explains gift spending escalation in rural China?," IFPRI discussion papers 1151, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_understanding_mechanisms_of_economic_development_with_abstract_apr is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
  7. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2009. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1729-1772.
  8. Robert M. Townsend, "undated". "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 91-3a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  9. Sharon L. Maccini & Dean Yang, 2008. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," NBER Working Papers 14031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. van Ewijk, Reyn, 2011. "Long-term health effects on the next generation of Ramadan fasting during pregnancy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1246-1260.
  11. Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
  12. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-70 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Ramadan Observance during Pregnancy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 56-85, October.
  14. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2013. "Fetal origins and parental responses," Working Paper Series WP-2012-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  15. Marcel Fafchamps & Flore Gubert, 2005. "The Formation of Risk Sharing Networks," Working Papers DT/2005/13, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  16. Mu, Ren & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Why does the Great Chinese Famine affect the male and female survivors differently? Mortality selection versus son preference," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 92-105, January.
  17. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4392 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Peer Effect, Risk-Pooling and Status Seeking: Which Matters to Gift Spending Escalation in Rural China?," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103643, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  19. Angus S. Deaton, 2010. "Understanding the mechanisms of economic development," NBER Working Papers 15891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Chen, Xi, 2014. "Gift-giving and Network Structure in Rural China: Utilizing Long-term Spontaneous Gift Records," IZA Discussion Papers 8642, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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