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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. 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.
  2. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John, 1997. "Health and wages: Evidence on men and women in urban Brazil," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 159-185, March.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Christopher Dougherty, 2005. "Why Are the Returns to Schooling Higher for Women than for Men?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 969-988.
  8. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2007. "Biology as Destiny? Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Intergenerational Transmission of Birth Weight," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 231-264.
  9. Psacharopoulos, George & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2002. "Returns to investment in education : a further update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2881, The World Bank.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Duflo, Esther, 2004. "The medium run effects of educational expansion: evidence from a large school construction program in Indonesia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 163-197, June.
  13. Michelle Rendall, 2010. "Brain versus Brawn: The Realization of Women's Comparative Advantage," 2010 Meeting Papers 926, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Zhang, Junsen, 2006. "Do Population Control Policies Induce More Human Capital Investment? Twins, Birthweight, and China's 'One Child' Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 2082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Edward Miguel & Charu Puri-Sharma, 2006. "Anemia and School Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
  16. 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.
  17. Deolalikar, A.B., 1993. "gender Differences in the Returns to School Enrollment rates in Indonesia," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 93-04, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  18. 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.
  19. Erica Field & Omar Robles & Maximo Torero, 2009. "Iodine Deficiency and Schooling Attainment in Tanzania," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 140-69, October.
  20. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," Working Papers 10197/317, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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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