Birth Weight and Cognitive Development during Childhood: Evidence from India

50 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2019 Last revised: 23 Jun 2019

See all articles by Santosh Kumar

Santosh Kumar

Department of Economics and International Business, College of Business Administration, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, USA

Kaushalendra Kumar

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Ramanan Laxminarayan

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP); Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy; Princeton University

Arindam Nandi

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP)

Date Written: June 10, 2017

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.

Keywords: Birth Weight, Test Score, Children, Cognitive Development, PPVT, Instrumental Variable, India

JEL Classification: I12, I15, I18, J13, J24, O12

Suggested Citation

Kumar, Santosh and Kumar, Kaushalendra and Laxminarayan, Ramanan and Nandi, Arindam, Birth Weight and Cognitive Development during Childhood: Evidence from India (June 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3344882 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3344882

Santosh Kumar (Contact Author)

Department of Economics and International Business, College of Business Administration, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, USA ( email )

1821 Ave I
SHSU Box 2118
Huntsville, TX 77341-2118
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Kaushalendra Kumar

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) ( email )

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mumbai, Maharashtra 400088
India

Ramanan Laxminarayan

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) ( email )

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Suite 600
Washington DC, DC 20036
United States

Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy ( email )

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Princeton University ( email )

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Arindam Nandi

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) ( email )

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Washington DC, DC 20005
United States

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