Birthweight and Academic Achievement in Childhood

44 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2014

See all articles by Pinka Chatterji

Pinka Chatterji

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Dohyung Kim

State University of New York (SUNY) - Department of Economics

Kajal Lahiri

State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, College of Arts and Sciences, Economics

Date Written: May 3, 2014

Abstract

Research has shown that birthweight has a lasting impact on later-life outcomes such as educational attainment and earnings. This paper examines the role of health at birth in determining academic achievement in childhood, which may provide the link between birthweight and adult outcomes. Using three waves of the PSID-CDS data over 1997-2009, we build on the literature by employing fetal growth rate as a proxy for nutritional intake in utero and propose a nested error-component two-stage least squares (NEC2SLS) estimator that draws on internal instruments from alternative dimensions of the multi-level panel data set. In particular, this alternative estimator allows us to exploit the information on children with no siblings in the sample, which comprises over 40 percent of the observations in our sample, as well as to obtain coefficient estimates for the time-invariant variables such as race and maternal education. This would not be feasible with the usual mother fixed effects estimation. We obtain modest but significant effects of fetal growth rate on math and reading scores, with the effects concentrated in the low birthweight range. Infant health measures appear to explain little of the well-documented racial disparity in test scores.

Keywords: birthweight, academic achievement, hierarchical panel data, nested error component 2SLS, mother fixed effects, racial disparity, mother’s education, PSID-CDS

JEL Classification: C23, C26, I10, I14, J15

Suggested Citation

Chatterji, Pinka and Kim, Dohyung and Lahiri, Kajal, Birthweight and Academic Achievement in Childhood (May 3, 2014). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4786. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2445356

Pinka Chatterji

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Dohyung Kim (Contact Author)

State University of New York (SUNY) - Department of Economics ( email )

1400 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12222
United States

Kajal Lahiri

State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, College of Arts and Sciences, Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
United States
518-442 4758 (Phone)
518-442 4736 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.albany.edu/~klahiri

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
47
Abstract Views
464
PlumX Metrics