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Beyond Birthweight: The Origins of Human Capital

Conti, G; Godfrey, K; Hanson, M; Inskip, H; Crozier, S; Cooper, C; (2020) Beyond Birthweight: The Origins of Human Capital. (IZA Discussion Papers 13296). Institute of Labor Economics: Bonn, Germany. Green open access

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Abstract

Birth weight is the most widely used indicator of neonatal health, mainly because it is routinely recorded in birth registries. But are better measures available? We use unique data including fetal ultrasounds to show that more specific measures of the fetus and of the newborn are more informative about the prenatal environment and more predictive of child health and development, beyond birth weight. Our results are robust to correcting for measurement error and accounting for child- and mother-specific unobserved heterogeneity. Our analysis rationalises a common finding in the early origins literature, that prenatal events can influence postnatal development without affecting birth outcomes.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Beyond Birthweight: The Origins of Human Capital
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.iza.org/publications/dp/13296
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Birthweight, Fetal development, Developmental origins of health, Child health, Measurement
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117378
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