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Economic Growth, Comparative Advantage, and Gender Differences in Schooling Outcomes: Evidence from the Birthweight Differences of Chinese Twins

  • Rosenzweig, Mark R.

    (Yale University)

  • Zhang, Junsen

    (University of Hong Kong)

This paper estimates the gender-specific effects of birthweight on a variety of schooling and labor market outcomes. A unique feature of the study is to use micro evidence on the relationship between birthweight—an early measure of nutritional advantage—and schooling outcomes to make inferences about the relationships between specific aspects of economic growth and schooling investments and returns. Using data from two surveys of twins in the People’s Republic of China and applying a simple model of schooling and occupational choice that incorporates differences in brawn between males and females, it shows that the comparative advantage of females in skill is reflected in their greater investment in education and in their selection of more skill-intensive occupations relative to males. It also shows that comparative advantage in skill is manifested in differences in the relationship between birthweight and schooling between males and females, which in turn reflect changes in the skill intensity of the occupational structure in the aggregate economy.

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Paper provided by Asian Development Bank in its series ADB Economics Working Paper Series with number 323.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 31 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:adbewp:0323
Note: http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/pub/2012/economics-wp323.pdf
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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," Working Papers 200718, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  2. Li, Hongbin & Rosenzweig, Mark & Zhang, Junsen, 2008. "Altruism, Favoritism, and Guilt in the Allocation of Family Resources: Sophie's Choice in Mao's Mass Send Down Movement," Working Papers 54, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  3. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, 01.
  4. Anil B. Deolalikar, 1993. "Gender Differences in the Returns to Schooling and in School Enrollment Rates in Indonesia," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(4), pages 899-932.
  5. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/317 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Michelle Rendall, 2010. "Brain versus brawn: the realization of women's comparative advantage," IEW - Working Papers 491, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Psacharopoulos, George & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2002. "Returns to investment in education : a further update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2881, The World Bank.
  8. Janet Currie & Enrico Moreti, 2005. "Biology As Destiny? Short And Long-Run Determinants Of Intergenerational Transmission Of Birth Weight," Working Papers id:194, eSocialSciences.
  9. Mark M. Pitt & Mark R. Rosenzweig & Mohammad Nazmul Hassan, 2012. "Human Capital Investment and the Gender Division of Labor in a Brawn-Based Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3531-60, December.
  10. Franziska Ohnsorge & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Sorting It Out: International Trade with Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 868-892, October.
  11. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
  12. Mark R. Rosenzweig & Junsen Zhang, 2009. "Do Population Control Policies Induce More Human Capital Investment? Twins, Birth Weight and China's "One-Child" Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1149-1174.
  13. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Edward l Miguel & Charu Puri-Sharma, 2006. "Anaemia and School Participation," Working Papers id:337, eSocialSciences.
  14. Philip Oreopoulos & Mark Stabile & Randy Walld & Leslie L. Roos, 2008. "Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Consequences of Poor Infant Health: An Analysis Using Siblings and Twins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  15. Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1997. "Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil," Papers 97-05, RAND - Reprint Series.
  16. Trostel, Philip & Walker, Ian & Woolley, Paul, 2002. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for 28 countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, February.
  17. Esther Duflo, 2010. "The Medium Run Effects of Educational Expansion: Evidence from a Large School Construction Program in Indonesia," Working Papers id:2787, eSocialSciences.
  18. 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.
  19. Heather Royer, 2009. "Separated at Girth: US Twin Estimates of the Effects of Birth Weight," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 49-85, January.
  20. John A. Maluccio & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2009. "The Impact of Improving Nutrition During Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 734-763, 04.
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