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Mother's education and birth weight

Author

Listed:
  • Arnaud Chevalier

    (Department of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London, and Geary Institute, University College Dublin)

  • Vincent O'Sullivan

    (Department of Economics, Warwick University and Geary Institute, University College Dublin)

Abstract

Low birth weight has considerable short and long-term consequences and leads to high costs to the individual and society even in a developed economy. Low birth weight is partially a consequence of choices made by the mother pre- and during pregnancy. Thus policies affecting these choices could have large returns. Using British data, maternal education is found to be positively correlated with birth weight. We identify a causal effect of education using the 1947 reform of the minimum school leaving age. Change in compulsory school leaving age has been previously used as an instrument, but has been criticised for mostly picking up time trends. Here, we demonstrate that the policy effects differ by social background and hence provide identification across cohorts but also within cohort. We find modest but heterogenous positive effects of maternal education on birth weight with an increase from the baseline weight ranging from 2% to 6%.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnaud Chevalier & Vincent O'Sullivan, 2007. "Mother's education and birth weight," Working Papers 200725, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200725
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    File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/GearyWp200724.pdf
    File Function: Draft 2.2, 2007
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    Cited by:

    1. Kemptner, Daniel & Marcus, Jan, 2013. "Spillover Effects of Maternal Education on Child's Health and Health Behavior," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 29-54.
    2. Anderberg, Dan & Chevalier, Arnaud & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2011. "Anatomy of a health scare: Education, income and the MMR controversy in the UK," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 515-530, May.
    3. Mark E. Mcgovern, 2013. "Still Unequal at Birth: Birth Weight,Socio-economic Status and Outcomes at Age 9," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 44(1), pages 53-84.
    4. Sanjay RODE, 2015. "The Socio Economic Determinants Of Low Birth Weight Babies Of Slums In Mumbai Metropolitan Region," Business Excellence and Management, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 5(2), pages 68-83, June.
    5. Katja Coneus & Friedhelm Pfeiffer, 2007. "Self-Productivity in Early Childhood," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 39, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Ghouse, Ghulam & Zaid, Muhammad, 2016. "Determinants of Low Birth Weight a Cross Sectional Study: In Case of Pakistan," MPRA Paper 70660, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Returns to education; health;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other

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