Friday, September 23, 2011

28 September 2011: Height and cognitive achievement among Indian children

Dean Spears
Princeton University

Economists, demographers and medical researchers are accumulating persuasive evidence of lasting consequences of early-life health and net nutrition for life-long economic, cognitive, and health outcomes.

The paper documents and describes an association between child height and cognitive achievement in India using India Human Development Survey (IHDS). Taller children perform better on average on tests of cognitive achievement, in part because of differences in early-life health and net nutrition. Recent research documenting this height – achievement slope has primarily focused on rich countries. Using the India Human Development Survey, a representative sample of 40,000 households which matches anthropometric data to learning tests, this paper documents a height-achievement slope among Indian children. The height-achievement slope in India is more than twice as steep as in the U.S. An earlier survey interviewed some IHDS children’s household eleven years before. Including matched early-life control variables reduces the apparent effect of height, but does not eliminate it; water, sanitation and hygiene maybe particularly important for children’s outcomes. Being one standard deviation taller is associated with being 5 percentage points more likely to be able to write, a slope that falls only to 3.4 percentage points controlling for a long list of contemporary and early-life conditions.

Date: September 28, 2011
Time: 03:30 P.M.

NCAER Conference Room
National Council of Applied Economic Research
Parisila Bhawan, 11, Indraprastha Estate
New Delhi-110002(INDIA)

For queries, please contact Ms. Sudesh Bala at or on 011-2345-2664


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