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From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Paul J. Devereux
  • Sandra E. Black
  • Kjell G. Salvanes

Abstract

Lower birth weight babies have worse outcomes, both short-run in terms of one-year mortality rates and longer run in terms of educational attainment and earnings. However, recent research has called into question whether birth weight itself is important or whether it simply reflects other hard-to-measure characteristics. By applying within twin techniques using an unusually rich dataset from Norway, we examine the effects of birth weight on both short-run and long-run outcomes for the same cohorts. We find that birth weight does matter; despite short-run twin fixed effects estimates that are much smaller than OLS estimates, the effects on longer-run outcomes such as adult height, IQ, earnings, and education are significant and similar in magnitude to OLS estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • 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," Open Access publications 10197/317, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:oapubs:10197/317
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/317
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    1. Conley, Dalton & Strully, Kate W. & Bennett, Neil G., 2006. "Twin differences in birth weight: The effects of genotype and prenatal environment on neonatal and post-neonatal mortality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 151-183, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Birth weight; Success; Developmental biology;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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