research institute for compassionate economics

New rice working paper!

Written by Diane Coffey on June 1st, 2012

I just wanted to share a new working paper that is posted under the rice research tab called “Early life mortality, income and adult height in India.” Here’s the abstract to whet your appetite:

Recent research on the relationship between adult height and early life conditions suggest that mortality levels in infancy explain variation in adult height in developed countries. This article examines whether the same pattern holds true for people born in India, a large developing country, from 1970-1983. Using newly assembled population level data from three sources, I consider the relationships between state cohorts’ adult heights, state-level measures of mortality in infancy, and state income per capita in infancy. In contrast to what has been found in rich countries, variation in state income in a cohort’s year of birth is a significant predictor of adult height. As in developed countries, measures of mortality during early life correlate with adult heights. However, evidence suggests that the mechanisms behind these correlations may be different in developed and developing countries. Whereas measures of mortality associated with the disease environment are robust predictors heights in developed countries, in this data set such correlations are more tentative. Another difference between findings in developed countries and findings in these data is that neonatal mortality strongly and robustly predicts adult heights in India, suggesting that prenatal factors may have played a more important role in determining heights in poor countries than rich countries during this period.

It is still very much a work in progress, so comments are much appreciated!