Fasting During Pregnancy and Children’s Academic Performance

Posted: 7 Dec 2011

See all articles by Douglas Almond

Douglas Almond

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Bhashkar Mazumder

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Reyn van Ewijk

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 26, 2011

Abstract

Conventionally studied educational interventions tend to be costly and may be subject to “fade out”. In contrast, experiences during the prenatal period can have large and persistent effects on academic performance, even when quite brief. In this paper, we consider a relatively mild and commonly-experienced prenatal exposure – that occasioned by daytime fasting during the lunar month of Ramadan. In register data from England, we find that test scores at age seven are approximately .05 to .08 standard deviations lower for Pakistani and Bangladeshi students exposed to Ramadan in early pregnancy. We argue these “intent to treat” estimates are downward biased relative to fasting’s effect due to imperfect compliance. We conclude that prenatal investments can influence test scores and that the magnitude of the effect is comparable to conventional educational interventions.

Keywords: Ramadan, fasting, Key Stage 1, prenatal, fetal development

JEL Classification: I2, I1

Suggested Citation

Almond, Douglas Vincent and Mazumder, Bhashkar and van Ewijk, Reyn, Fasting During Pregnancy and Children’s Academic Performance (July 26, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1898462

Douglas Vincent Almond

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
International Affairs Building, MC 3308
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-3239 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bhashkar Mazumder (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Reyn Van Ewijk

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Economics ( email )

Saarstrasse 21
Mainz, D-55099
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.econometrics.economics.uni-mainz.de/392.php

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,300
PlumX Metrics