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In Utero Ramadan Exposure and Children’s Academic Performance

Almond, Douglas V.; Mazumder, Bhashkar; Van Ewijk, Reyn

A large literature has linked the in utero environment to health in adulthood. We consider how prenatal nutrition may shape human capital acquisition in childhood, utilising the month‐long Ramadan fast as a natural experiment. In student register data for Pakistani and Bangladeshi families in England, we examine whether Ramadan's overlap with pregnancy affects subsequent academic outcomes at age 7. We find that test scores are 0.05–0.08 standard deviations lower for students exposed to Ramadan in early pregnancy. Our results suggest that brief prenatal investments may be more cost effective than traditional educational interventions in improving academic performance.

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Also Published In

Title
The Economics Journal
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12168

More About This Work

Academic Units
Economics
Series
Department of Economics Discussion Papers
Published Here
February 8, 2019
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