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Attempted suicides among U.S. soldiers often occur before or soon after deployment

Shaefer and Edin's book ($2 a Day) cited in piece on political debate over plight of impoverished Americans

Eisenberg tracks factors affecting both mental health and athletic/academic performance among college athletes

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Elizabeth Bruch promoted to Associate Professor

Susan Murphy elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Maggie Levenstein named director of ISR's Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

Arline Geronimus receives 2016 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award

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psc brown bag iconHealth Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Maternal Fasting During Pregnancy

Douglas Almond (Economics Department, Columbia University), Bhash Mazumder

04/12/2010, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

[VIDEO]

We use the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as a natural experiment in fasting and fetal health. In Michigan births 1989-2006, we find prenatal exposure to Ramadan among Arab mothers results in lower birthweight and reduced gestation length. Exposure to Ramadan in the first month of gestation is also associated with a sizable reduction in the number of male births. In Census data for Uganda, Iraq, and the US we find strong associations between in utero exposure to Ramadan and the likelihood of being disabled as an adult. Effects are particularly large for mental (or learning) disabilities. We also find significant effects on proxies for wealth, earnings, the sex composition of the adult population, and more suggestive evidence of effects on schooling. We find no evidence that negative selection in conceptions during Ramadan accounts for our findings, suggesting that avoiding Ramadan exposure during pregnancy is costly or the long-term effects of fasting unknown.


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