Alcohol Exposure in Utero and Child Academic Achievement

58 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2014

See all articles by Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder

Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder

University of Bristol

George Wehby

University of Iowa

Sarah Lewis

University of Bristol, Population Health Sciences, Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit

Luisa Zuccolo

University of Bristol - MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2014

Abstract

We examine the effect of alcohol exposure in utero on child academic achievement. As well as studying the effect of any alcohol exposure, we investigate the effect of the dose, pattern, and duration of exposure. We use a genetic variant in the maternal alcohol-metabolism gene ADH1B as an instrument for alcohol exposure, whilst controlling for the child's genotype on the same variant. We show that the instrument is unrelated to an extensive range of maternal and paternal characteristics and behaviours. OLS regressions suggest an ambiguous association between alcohol exposure in utero and children's academic attainment, but there is a strong social gradient in maternal drinking, with mothers in higher socio-economic groups more likely to drink. In stark contrast to the OLS, the IV estimates show negative effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on child educational attainment. These results are very robust to an extensive set of model specifications. In addition, we show that that the effects are solely driven by the maternal genotype, with no impact of the child's genotype.

Suggested Citation

von Hinke Kessler Scholder, Stephanie and Wehby, George and Lewis, Sarah and Zuccolo, Luisa, Alcohol Exposure in Utero and Child Academic Achievement (January 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w19839, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2384296

Stephanie Von Hinke Kessler Scholder (Contact Author)

University of Bristol ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol, BS8 1TN
United Kingdom

George Wehby

University of Iowa ( email )

Sarah Lewis

University of Bristol, Population Health Sciences, Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit ( email )

Bristol
United Kingdom

Luisa Zuccolo

University of Bristol - MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit ( email )

Bristol
United Kingdom

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