The China Great Leap Forward Famine: The Lasting Impact of Mothers’ Fetal Malnutrition on Their Offspring
Mothers born around the China Great Leap Forward Famine (famine-born mothers) are likely to have worse adult outcomes due to a negative relationship between fetal malnutrition and their health and cognitive ability. Using data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, I investigate whether famine-born mothers transmit less human capital to their offspring through various channels, including less cognitive ability and other innate traits and by the choice of less investment in children’s human capital. My study also focuses on possible gender differences in these effects. I find that in-utero famine experience of famine-born mothers is negatively related to the education and labor outcomes of their offspring. However, female children are less affected by mothers’ famine experience than are men. This outcome suggests that Trivers-Willard (1973) effects dominate parental-choice effects despite the well-known son-preference of China.
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- Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
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