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Sins of the Fathers: The Intergenerational Legacy of the 1959-1961 Great Chinese Famine on Children's Cognitive Development

Listed author(s):
  • Chih Ming Tan

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of North Dakota, USA; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

  • Zhibo Tan

    ()

    (School of Economics, Fudan University, China)

  • Xiaobo Zhang

    ()

    (China Center for Economic Research, Peking University, China; International Food Policy Research Institute, USA)

The effect of early exposure to malnutrition on the next generation's cognitive abilities has rarely been studied in human beings in large part due to lack of data. A natural experiment, the Great Chinese Famine, and a novel dataset are employed to study this effect. The paper finds that the cognitive abilities of children born to rural famine fathers were affected and that the impact is more pronounced in girls than in boys, whereas children born to female survivors are not affected. The uncovered gender-specific effect is almost entirely attributable to son preference exhibited in families with male famine survivors.

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File URL: http://www.rcea.org/RePEc/pdf/wp15-33.pdf
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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 15-33.

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Date of creation: Sep 2015
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:15-33
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