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Fetal origins and parental responses
We review the literature on how parental investments respond to health endowments at birth. Recent studies have combined insights from an earlier theoretical literature on how households allocate resources within the family, with a growing empirical literature that identifies early life health shocks using sharp research designs. We describe the econometric challenges in identifying the behavioral responses of parents and how recent studies have sought to address these challenges. We also discuss the emerging literature that has considered how there may be dynamic complementarities in ...
Prenatal sex selection and girls’ well-being? evidence from India
The paper studies the impact of prenatal sex selection on the well-being of girls by analyzing changes in children?s nutritional status and mortality during the years since the diffusion of sex-selective abortion in India. We use the ratio of male to female births in the year and state in which a child was born as a proxy for parental access to prenatal sex-selection. Using repeated cross-sections from a rich survey dataset, we show that high sex ratios at birth reflect the practice of sex-selective abortion. We then exploit the large regional and time variations in the incidence of ...
The effects of maternal fasting during Ramadan on birth and adult outcomes
We use the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as a natural experiment for evaluating the short and long-term effects of fasting during pregnancy. Using Michigan natality data we show that in utero exposure to Ramadan among Arab births results in lower birthweight and reduced gestation length. Preconception exposure to Ramadan is also associated with fewer male births. Using Census data in Uganda we also find that Muslims who were born nine months after Ramadan are 22 percent (p =0.02) more likely to be disabled as adults. Effects are found for vision, hearing, and especially for mental (or ...