Farewell to the God of Plague: Estimating the Effects of China’s Universal Salt Iodization on Educational Outcomes

43 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2018 Last revised: 29 Aug 2019

See all articles by Qingyang Huang

Qingyang Huang

University of California, Berkeley

Chang Liu

Princeton University

Li-An Zhou

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management

Date Written: May 21, 2018

Abstract

This paper estimates the effects of China’s Universal Salt Iodization (USI) policy in 1994 – the largest nutrition intervention policy in human history – on children’s later-life educational outcomes. Using population census data combined with county-level information, we apply a difference-in-differences strategy to compare the educational outcomes of cohorts born before and after USI across counties with different iodine deficiency disorder levels. Our results show that USI increased primary school enrollment by 0.6 percentage points. Further investigation suggests that girls and children born in rural areas benefit more from USI. The costs of USI almost evenly fell on China’s iodine salt consumers through an in-price tax.

Keywords: Universal Salt Iodization, Iodine Deficiency Disorders, Fetal Origins Hypothesis, Educational Outcome

JEL Classification: I12, I14, I18, I38, N35

Suggested Citation

Huang, Qingyang and Liu, Chang and Zhou, Li-An, Farewell to the God of Plague: Estimating the Effects of China’s Universal Salt Iodization on Educational Outcomes (May 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3182885 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3182885

Qingyang Huang

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Chang Liu (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08540
United States

Li-An Zhou

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management ( email )

Peking University
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

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