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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
Vincenzo Carrieri, Andrew M Jones
Using an objective biomarker of active and passive smoking, we estimate Galtonian regressions of nicotine transmission and test whether the use of new nicotine delivery products (NDP) by parents had an influence on the transmission to children through passive smoking. We find evidence of a strong intergenerational transmission through passive smoking and that this is around four times larger for mothers compared to fathers. Moreover, we estimate an intention to treat difference-in-differences (DiD) model using parental cotinine as a continuous measure of exposure to the treatment and we find that the level of transmission of cotinine from parents was reduced to 51 per cent of the previous level just after the spread in the use of e-cigarettes in England and to 77 per cent when considering transmission from mothers...
August 16, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Ajantha Sisira Kumara, Ramanie Samaratunge
We investigate the effects of experiencing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on labour force outcomes of working-age individuals and their households in Sri Lanka. For this, quasi-experimental evidence, including average treatment effects on those treated (ATT), are generated by using the self-reported health survey of the labour force of Sri Lanka. According to the analysis, individuals with at least one NCD account for approximately 19.15% of the working-age population. On average, employment probability, labour supply, and labour earnings of them are significantly lower than those of non-NCD individuals by 9...
August 13, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Trinidad Beleche, Inna Cintina
In the past decade, the technological developments in the oil and natural gas extraction industry made the extraction of shale gas economically feasible and prompted local economic booms across the US. Anecdotal evidence suggests that areas with unconventional gas development experience a disproportionate increase in the young male population who are more likely to be involved in risk-taking behavior. Moreover, the sudden income gains or demographic shifts might increase the demand for various goods and services, including entertainment and illegal activities provided by the adult entertainment industry...
August 10, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Roberto Duncan, Patricia Toledo
We evaluate the hypothesis of convergence to an optimal long-run body weight worldwide. We formulate a simple rational non-addiction eating model to derive a testable equation that allows us to verify the existence of a long-run body weight as well as its estimation. We use a database of body mass index (BMI) estimates across countries over four decades published by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration. We find that BMIs converge among European countries but not in the rest of the world. Consistent with the theoretical model, our long-run estimates suggest that European nations will show an average BMI above healthy levels...
July 29, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Bahadır Dursun, Resul Cesur, Naci Mocan
Although the impact of education on health is important for public policy everywhere, the overwhelming majority of research identifying the health returns to education has focused on developed countries. We use data from multiple waves of nationally-representative Health and Tobacco Surveys in Turkey, and exploit an education reform that increased the mandatory years of schooling from 5 to 8 years in 1997. Using exposure to the reform as an instrument for completing at least eight years of schooling, we examine the impact of education on health indicators and smoking among young adults...
July 27, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Zhengtao Li, Bin Hu
This study examined people's willingness to pay (WTP) for improving air quality obtained through contingent valuation method (CVM) in the context of the theory of planned behaviour. Following this theory, four indicators were developed to measure people's behavioural intentions for improving air quality; two of these indicators were correlated with contingent valuation survey. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was employed to estimate our Perception-based Behavioural Intention Model (PBIM) by using a cross-sectional data set of 759 residents of the Jinchuan mining area in Gansu Province, China...
July 27, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Yuanyuan Ma, Anne Nolan, James P Smith
Does education have a causal impact on health? The existing literature presents mixed results. More evidence is required from contexts that have not been explored in the literature, and using clinically-measured health outcomes. Using data from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), and exploiting a policy change in the 1960s that eliminated public secondary school fees, we investigate whether additional years of schooling for those with lower socio-economic status (SES) have a causal effect on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in later life...
July 23, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Nicole Black, Robert Hughes, Andrew M Jones
The effect of childhood obesity on medical costs incurred by the Australian Government is estimated using five waves of panel data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, which is linked to public health insurance administrative records from Medicare Australia. Instrumental variables estimators are used to address concerns about measurement error and selection bias. The additional annual medical costs due to overweight and obesity among 6 to 13 year olds is about $43 million (in 2015 AUD). This is driven by a higher utilisation of general practitioner and specialist doctors...
July 23, 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
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...
September 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...
September 2018: Economics and Human Biology
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