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Birth Weight and Cognitive Development during Childhood: Evidence from India

Author

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  • Kumar, Santosh
  • Kumar, Kaushalendra
  • Laxminarayan, Ramanan
  • Nandi, Arindam

Abstract

Health at birth is an important indicator of human capital development over the life course. This paper uses longitudinal data from the Young Lives survey and employs instrumental variable regression models to estimate the effect of birth weight on cognitive development during childhood in India. We find that a 10 percent increase in birth weight increases cognitive test score by 8.1 percent or 0.11 standard deviations at ages 5-8 years. Low birth weight infants experienced a lower test score compared with normal birth weight infants. The positive effect of birth weight on a cognitive test score is larger for boys, children from rural or poor households, and those with less-educated mothers. Our findings suggest that health policies designed to improve birth weight could improve human capital in resource-poor settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Kumar, Santosh & Kumar, Kaushalendra & Laxminarayan, Ramanan & Nandi, Arindam, 2019. "Birth Weight and Cognitive Development during Childhood: Evidence from India," GLO Discussion Paper Series 358, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:358
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Santosh Kumar & Fidel Gonzalez, 2020. "The Quantile effects of prenatal care on birth weight in Mexico," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 40(2), pages 1498-1507.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Birth weight; Test score; Cognition; PPVT; Children; Instrumental variable; India;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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