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Economics and Human Biology

Kibrom A Abay, Mulubrhan Amare
The prevalence of overweight and obesity are increasing in many African countries and hence becoming regional public health challenges. We employ satellite-based night light intensity data as a proxy for urbanization to investigate the relationship between urbanization and women's body weight. We use two rounds of the Demographic and Health Survey data from Nigeria. We employ both nonparametric and parametric estimation approaches that exploit both the cross-sectional and longitudinal variations in night light intensities...
September 28, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Huong Trinh Thi, Michel Simioni, Christine Thomas-Agnan
Vietnam is undergoing a nutritional transition like many middle-income countries. This transition is characterized by an increase in per capita total calorie intake resulting from an increase in the consumption of fat and protein while the carbohydrate consumption decreases. This paper proposes to highlight the sociodemographic drivers of this transition over the period 2004-2014, using Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey data. We implement a method of decomposition of between-year differences in economic outcomes recently proposed in the literature...
September 19, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Saseendran Pallikadavath
Janani Suraksha Yojana (safe motherhood scheme, or JSY) provides cash incentives to marginal pregnant women in India conditional on having mainly institutional delivery. Using the fourth round of district level household survey (DLHS-4), we have estimated its effects on both intended and unintended outcomes. Our estimates of average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) from propensity score matching are remarkably higher than those found in previous prominent studies using the second and third rounds of the survey (DLHS-2 and DLHS-3)...
September 14, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Vikesh Amin, Paul Dunn, Tim Spector
More education is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and likelihood of being obese. Obesity and BMI also have a strong genetic basis. Given these observations, we investigate whether more education can reduce obesity by attenuating the underlying genetic risk of being obese, through gene-environment (GxE) interactions. We estimate associations between (i) education, (ii) a genetic risk score (GRS) and (iii) GxE interactions between education and the GRS through Ordinary least Squares (OLS) and twins fixed-effect regressions using data on female twins from the TwinsUK database...
September 13, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Neeraj Kaushal, Julia Shu-Huah Wang, Xiaoning Huang
We investigate the education, health and mental health effects of state policies that allowed or explicitly banned tuition subsidy and financial aid to undocumented college students using the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for 1998-2013. Our analysis suggests that an explicit ban on tuition subsidy or enrollment in public colleges lowered college education of non-citizen Mexican young adults by 5.4-11.6 percentage points. We find some evidence that in-state tuition and access to financial aid improved self-reported health and reduced mental health distress, and ban on in-state-tuition/enrollment increased mental health distress among non-citizen Mexican young adults: estimated effects are generally significant in first-difference models and models that include state-specific cubic trends, and often insignificant in difference-in-difference models...
September 10, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
David Candon
This paper investigates the relationship between cancer diagnosis and the labor supply of employed men over the age of 65. While almost 60% of male cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65, no previous research has examined the effect that cancer has on this age group, which is surprising given the relevance of this group to public policy. With data from the Health and Retirement Study, I show that cancer has a significant negative effect on the labor supply of these workers. Using a combination of linear regression models and propensity score matching, I find that respondents who are diagnosed with cancer work 3 fewer hours per week than their non-cancer counterparts...
September 8, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Martin Binder, Guido Buenstorf
A robust relationship between subjective well-being and mortality has been established in the literature, but few studies address how subjective well-being interacts with the impact of concrete diseases on survival. In addition, issues of endogeneity between bad health and subjective well-being are ignored when it comes to survival. We assess both for the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS; 1991-2008) and specifically analyze whether subjective well-being predicts better chances of surviving diseases such as cancer or heart conditions...
September 1, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Kota Ogasawara
This study estimates the lingering effects of fetal exposure to the 1918 influenza pandemic on the development of secondary school and girls' high school students in industrializing Japan. In order to refine the verification of the fetal origins hypothesis, we tried not only to focus on children from elite schools but also to construct the continuous influenza mortality measure using monthly variations in the number of births and influenza deaths. By utilizing a nationwide multidimensional physical examination dataset, we found that fetal exposure to influenza in the pandemic years reduced the heights of boys and girls by approximately 0...
September 1, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Lorenzo N Almada, Rusty Tchernis
The effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on obesity have been the focus of much debate. However, causal interpretation of estimates from previous studies, comparing participants to non-participants, is complicated by endogeneity and possible misreporting of participation in SNAP. In this paper, we take a novel approach to examine quasi-experimental variation in SNAP benefit amount on adult obesity. Children of SNAP households qualify for free in-school meals, thus freeing some additional benefits for the household...
September 1, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Vladimir Otrachshenko, Olga Popova, Pavel Solomin
This paper examines the impacts of extremely hot and cold days on mortality in Russia, using a 25-year regional panel data. Unlike other studies, the sequence of those extreme days is also taken into account, that is, the impacts of both single and consecutive (i.e. heat waves and cold spells) extreme days are estimated simultaneously. We demonstrate the importance of accounting for the sequence of extreme days. We also disentangle the impacts of those extremes by age and gender. The findings suggest that single hot days increase mortality, while single cold days do not affect mortality...
August 30, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Osea Giuntella
The United States is witnessing a boom in fast casual restaurants owing to the recent growth of ethnic restaurants throughout the country. This study examines the effects of proximity to a Mexican restaurant-the dominant type of ethnic fast casual restaurant-on maternal and child health. I match data on the complete residential addresses of all mothers who gave birth in the Miami metropolitan area between 1990 and 2009 to a time series of all establishments (restaurants and stores) selling food and drink. This unique data set allows me to use mother fixed effects and to exploit the variation over time of the food environment to identify the effects on maternal weight gain and childbirth outcomes...
August 24, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Natalia Candelo, Catherine Eckel
Several studies present evidence of correlations between prenatal testosterone exposure measured with the 2D:4D ratio and behaviors such as pro-social behavior, risk and patient attitudes, and self-employment. Individuals exposed prenatally to higher levels of testosterone have lower levels of risk aversion, higher levels of patience and invest more in others, and in themselves, therefore have higher individual financial wellbeing. We test these hypotheses with a sample of 115 African-Americans who live in a low-income urban area in the U...
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Rob Alessie, Viola Angelini, Jochen O Mierau, Laura Viluma
We study the gender-specific impact of macroeconomic conditions around birth on infant health. We use a sample of over 50,000 respondents born between 1950 and 1994 from Lifelines-a cohort and biobank from the northern Netherlands. Our results show that high provincial unemployment rates decrease fertility and lead to a lower birthweight in boys. The negative impact of high unemployment on birthweight is particularly strong for boys born to older mothers and for babies born to smoking mothers.
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Samira Choudhury, Derek D Headey
Research from richer countries finds that dairy consumption has strong positive associations with linear growth in children, but surprisingly little evidence exists for developing countries where diets are far less diversified. One exception is a recent economics literature using the notion of incomplete markets to estimate the impacts of cattle ownership on children's milk consumption and growth outcomes in Eastern Africa. In addition to external validity concerns, an obvious internal validity concern is that dairy producers may systematically differ from non-dairy households, particularly in terms of latent wealth or nutritional knowledge...
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Md Nazmul Ahsan, Riddhi Maharaj
Health at birth shapes an individual's well-being over her life cycle. We categorize the Indian states into high and low infant mortality regions to capture the diverse disease environment and analyze the nature of the association between parental human capital and child survival and nutrition measures at birth. We restrict our analysis only to firstborns to avoid confounding from a number of factors including sex-selective abortions in the higher birth orders. We broadly find that parental human capital, especially maternal health, is a strong and significant predictor of a child's birth outcomes under adverse disease environment...
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Nicholas Wilson
Preventive behavior with regards to disease transmission offers a promising context in which to provide empirical evidence on altruism in human populations. I examine the association between HIV status, own knowledge about status, and preventive health behavior using household survey data from over 200,000 individuals in 25 sub-Saharan African countries. I find that individuals who are HIV positive and have taken a standard HIV test are much more likely to engage in efforts to prevent HIV transmission than are individuals who are HIV negative and have taken a standard HIV test...
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Robert Lantis, Brittany Teahan
We investigate whether unemployment insurance (UI) policy affects the drinking behavior of the unemployed. Using NLSY data supplemented with Geocode data, we estimate the effect of benefit replacement rates on changes in individual alcohol consumption following job loss. Identification relies on variation in replacement rates across states and over time. Results indicate that a 100% increase in benefit replacement rate, roughly equivalent to a state moving from the lowest to the highest replacement rate, would, on average, result in unemployed individuals consuming 19...
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Sara Capacci, Anna Caterina Leucci, Mario Mazzocchi
A lifelong gluten-free diet is the only available treatment for coeliac disease at present. However, the high price of gluten-free substitute foods is likely to generate a welfare loss for consumers who drop gluten from their diet. Using original data on retail prices in four major UK supermarkets and consumption data from the UK Living Cost and Food Survey, we simulate the welfare change associated to a switch to the gluten-free diet. Within the "Bread and Cereals" category, retail price data show that the average price of gluten-free products is £1...
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Menghan Shen
This paper examines the effects of school desegregation on infant health using birth certificate data from 1970 to 2002 and a multiple difference-in-differences approach that exploits variation in the timing of desegregation across counties. Using cohort fixed effects and county fixed effects, I find that among black mothers in Southern regions, school desegregation reduces preterm births by 1.7 percentage points. These results are robust to county-specific cohort trends, county-specific year trends, and state-specific cohort fixed effects...
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Seyed M Karimi, Anirban Basu
We examine the effect of prenatal exposure to Ramadan on children's height by sex, age, region, and the degree of religiosity. Since Ramadan rotates on solar calendars, we pool demographic and health survey data from numerous developing countries to increase the number of birth years and fairly control for potential seasonal effects. Our results suggest that Ramadan-induced nutritional stress during early- and mid-gestation may negatively affect the height of 3 and 4 years old Muslim male children. The effect tends to be stronger in West Africa and Central Asia...
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
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