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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...
July 3, 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...
July 3, 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...
June 30, 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...
June 30, 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...
June 30, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Seyed M Karimia, 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...
June 25, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Jason M Fletcher
A growing literature ties in utero conditions to life course outcomes, including education, earnings, and adult health and mortality. A smaller literature has begun to examine the intergenerational impacts of in utero conditions. A link between these two literatures-the impacts of in utero conditions on family formation-has had few examinations but offers a potential set of mechanisms for the intergenerational reach of early conditions. This paper draws from the 1960 US Decennial Census to examine whether individuals exposed in utero to the 1918/19 influenza pandemic had different family formation patterns than adjacent unexposed cohorts...
June 25, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Tamás Hajdu, Gábor Hajdu
In 2012, smoking restrictions were extended to hospitality venues in Hungary. Women working in bars and restaurants were primarily affected by the intervention. In this research, we analyze the effect of this smoking ban on the outcomes of their pregnancies. Using individual live birth, fetal loss, and infant mortality registry data, we examine the probability of live birth, indicators of health at birth, and the probability of death in the first year of life. We apply a difference-in-differences framework and show that the smoking ban has improved health at birth...
June 13, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Patricia K Smith, Jay L Zagorsky
Research reporting that greater body weight is associated with lower wages and employment, particularly among women, focuses on how employers perceive workers. In contrast, we examine whether workers' own perceptions of body weight influence labor market outcomes. Numerous studies find that misperception of body weight influences health behaviors and health, both mental and physical. For example, anorexia nervosa involves the over-perception of weight and raises the risk of cardiovascular disease. Do the health consequences of inaccurate self-perceived weight carry through to the labor market? We use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) to investigate patterns in weight misperception and three labor market outcomes...
May 28, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Climent Quintana-Domeque, José Raimundo Carvalho, Victor Hugo de Oliveira
During the outbreak of the Zika virus, Brazilian health authorities recommended that pregnant women take meticulous precaution to avoid mosquito bites and that women in general use contraceptive methods to postpone/delay pregnancies. In this article, we present new estimates on the Zika virus incidence, its correlates and preventive behaviors in the Northeast of Brazil, where the outbreak initiated, using survey data collected between March 30th and June 3rd of 2016. The target population were women aged 15-49 in the capital cities of the nine states of the Northeast region of Brazil...
May 1, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Shiko Maruyama, Sayaka Nakamura
Women have a lower BMI than men in developed countries, yet the opposite is true in developing countries. We call this the gender BMI puzzle and investigate its underlying cause. We begin by studying time trends in Japan, where, consistent with the cross-country puzzle, the BMI of adult women has steadily decreased since the 1950s, whereas the BMI of adult men has steadily increased. We study how changes in energy intake and energy expenditure account for the over-time gender BMI puzzle using the Japanese National Nutrition Survey from 1975 to 2010, which provides nurse-measured height and weight and nutritionist-assisted food records...
April 22, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Ana Lucia Abeliansky, Holger Strulik
We analyze how childhood hunger affects human aging for a panel of European individuals. For this purpose, we use six waves of the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) dataset and construct a health deficit index. Results from log-linear regressions suggest that, on average, elderly European men and women developed about 20 percent more health deficits when they experienced a hunger episode in their childhood. The effect becomes larger when the hunger episode is experienced earlier in childhood...
May 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Kota Ogasawara, Yukitoshi Matsushita
A growing body of literature shows the mitigating effects of water-supply systems on the mortality rates in large cities, yet the heterogeneities in the effects have been understudied. This study fills in the gap in existing knowledge by providing evidence for non-linearity in the effects of clean water using semiparametric fixed effects approach with city-level nationwide longitudinal dataset between 1922 and 1940, which covers 91% of total city population. According to our baseline estimate, the clean water accounts for approximately 27% of the decrease in the crude death rate in this period...
May 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Satoshi Kanazawa, Shihao Hu, Adrien Larere
Kanazawa and Still (2018) showed that very unattractive workers earned more than unattractive workers, sometimes more than average-looking or attractive workers, because they had higher levels of intelligence and education, but they did not explain why very unattractive workers had higher intelligence and education. There are both theoretical and empirical reasons to expect that some intelligent men may prefer to marry very unattractive women. The analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) shows that very unattractive women were significantly more likely to be married at Age 29 than unattractive or average-looking women, and their spouses or partners earned significantly more than those of unattractive or average-looking women...
May 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Nicholas J Meinzer
öProximity to protein production' has recently been identified as an important determinant of regional variation of biological standards of living, as evidenced by average heights. The number of cows per person turned out to be a useful proxy where milk consumption had not been documented. Re-analyses of agricultural production and average male heights in early 19th-century central Europe show that indicators of agricultural suitability and potential for food production constructed from modern agro-ecological data are strongly correlated with historical agricultural specialisation...
May 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Micha Kaiser, Mirjam Reutter, Alfonso Sousa-Poza, Kristina Strohmaier
In this paper, we use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to investigate the effect of macro-economic conditions (in the form of local unemployment rates) on smoking behavior. The results from our panel data models, several of which control for selection bias, indicate that the propensity to become a smoker increases significantly during an economic downturn, with an approximately 0.7 percentage point increase for each percentage point rise in the unemployment rate. Conversely, conditional on the individual being a smoker, cigarette consumption decreases with rising unemployment rates, with a one percentage point increase in the regional unemployment rate leading to a decrease in consumption up to 0...
May 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Javier Olivera, Francesco Andreoli, Anja K Leist, Louis Chauvel
Although cohort and country differences in average cognitive levels are well established, identifying the degree and determinants of inequalities in old age cognitive functioning could guide public health and policymaking efforts. We use all publicly available and representative old age surveys with comparable information to assess inequalities of cognitive functioning for six distinctive age groups in 29 countries. We document that cognitive inequalities in old age are largely determined by earlier educational inequalities as well as gender differential survival rates...
May 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Manuel Llorca-Jaña, Juan Navarrete-Montalvo, Federico Droller, Roberto Araya-Valenzuela
This article provides the first height estimates for the adult population for any period of Chilean history. Based on military records, it gives an analysis of the average heights of male soldiers in the last eight decades of the colonial period, c.1730-1800s. The average height of Chilean men was around 167 centimetres, making them on average taller than men from Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Venezuela, but of a similar height to men from Sweden. However, Chilean men were clearly shorter than men in neighbouring Argentina, the USA and the UK...
May 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Chen Zhu, Xiaohui Zhang, Qiran Zhao, Qihui Chen
In genetics, heterosis refers to the phenomenon that cross-breeding within species leads to offspring that are genetically fitter than their parents and exhibit improved phenotypic characteristics. Based on the theory of heterosis and existing genetic evidence, offspring of "hybrid" marriages (spouses originating from different states/provinces/countries/areas), though relatively rare due to physical boundaries, may exhibit greater genetic fitness in terms of intelligence, height, or physical attractiveness (the "distance-performance" hypothesis)...
May 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Zackary Hawley, Danyang Li, Kurt Schnier, Nicole Turgeon
Our research utilizes the experimental economics laboratory to investigate the impact that reducing disincentives has on organ donation. The experiment consists of four treatments across different levels of donation related costs, which reflect the disincentives associated with being an organ donor. Our experimental results indicate that sizable increases in the organ donation rate are achievable if we reduce the level of disincentives present. The largest observed donation rates arise when a financial return is offered for being an organ donor, which is prohibited under the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA), but nearly 80% of the gains observed under the positive financial incentives can be achieved if all of the disincentives are eliminated...
May 2018: Economics and Human Biology
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