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Birth Weight in the Long Run

Author

Listed:
  • Prashant Bharadwaj
  • Petter Lundborg
  • Dan-Olof Rooth

Abstract

We study the effect of birth weight on long-run outcomes, including permanent income, income across various stages of the lifecycle, education, social benefits take-up, and adult mortality. For this purpose, we have linked a unique dataset on nearly all Swedish twins born between 1926- 1958, containing information on birth weight, to administrative records spanning nearly entire life time lab or market histories. We find that birth weight positively affects permanent income and income across large parts of the life cycle, although there is some evidence of a fade out after age 50. Our results indicate that lower birth weight children are more likely to avail of social insurance programs such as unemployment and sickness insurance and that birth weight matters for adult mortality. We supplement our main analysis with more recent data, which enables us to study how the impact of birth weight on income and education of young adults has changed across cohorts born almost 50 years apart.

Suggested Citation

  • Prashant Bharadwaj & Petter Lundborg & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2015. "Birth Weight in the Long Run," NBER Working Papers 21354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21354
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anders Bohlmark & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Replication and Extension for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 879-900, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Bhuller, Manudeep & Mogstad, Magne & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2011. "Life-Cycle Bias and the Returns to Schooling in Current and Lifetime Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 5788, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    5. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2009. "Family background and income during the rise of the welfare state: Brother correlations in income for Swedish men born 1932-1968," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 671-680, June.
    6. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
    7. Marianne P. Bitler & Janet Currie, 2005. "Does WIC work? The effects of WIC on pregnancy and birth outcomes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 73-91.
    8. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-172, Summer.
    9. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-688, August.
    10. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
    11. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jjieco:v:50:y:2018:i:c:p:37-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Anders Björklund & Lina Aldén & Mats Hammarstedt, 2017. "Early Health and School Outcomes for Children with Lesbian Parents: Evidence from Sweden," Working Papers 2017-033, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Conti, Gabriella & Mason, Giacomo & Poupakis, Stavros, 2019. "Developmental Origins of Health Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 12448, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Bharadwaj, Prashant & Lundborg, Petter & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2015. "Health and Unemployment during Macroeconomic Crises," IZA Discussion Papers 9174, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Osea Giuntella & Giulia La Mattina & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2019. "Intergenerational Transmission of Health at Birth from Mothers and Fathers," Working Papers 2019-010, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    6. Janet Currie & Michael Mueller-Smith & Maya Rossin-Slater, 2018. "Violence while in Utero: The Impact of Assaults During Pregnancy on Birth Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 24802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gabriella Conti & Mark Hanson & Hazel M. Inskip & Sarah Crozier & Cyrus Cooper & Keith Godfrey, 2018. "Beyond birth weight: the origins of human capital," IFS Working Papers W18/30, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    8. Ji Yan, 2017. "Healthy Babies: Does Prenatal Care Really Matter?," Working Papers 17-09, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    9. Mark E. McGovern, 2016. "Progress and the Lack of Progress in Addressing Infant Health and Infant Health Inequalities in Ireland during the 20th Century," Economics Working Papers 16-05, Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast.
    10. repec:spr:jopoec:v:32:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-018-0706-z is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Giuntella, Osea & La Mattina, Giulia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2019. "Intergenerational Transmission of Health at Birth from Mothers and Fathers," IZA Discussion Papers 12105, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Matsushima, Midori & Shimizutani, Satoshi & Yamada, Hiroyuki, 2018. "Life course consequences of low birth weight: Evidence from Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 37-47.

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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