nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2019‒07‒15
two papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Birth Weight and Cognitive Development during Childhood: Evidence from India By Kumar, Santosh; Kumar, Kaushalendra; Laxminarayan, Ramanan; Nandi, Arindam
  2. Experimental and self-reported measures of risk taking and digit ratio (2D:4D): evidence from a large, systematic study By Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Galizzi, Matteo M.; Nieboer, Jeroen

  1. By: Kumar, Santosh; Kumar, Kaushalendra; Laxminarayan, Ramanan; Nandi, Arindam
    Abstract: Health at birth is an important indicator of human capital development over the life course. This paper uses longitudinal data from the Young Lives survey and employs instrumental variable regression models to estimate the effect of birth weight on cognitive development during childhood in India. We find that a 10 percent increase in birth weight increases cognitive test score by 8.1 percent or 0.11 standard deviations at ages 5-8 years. Low birth weight infants experienced a lower test score compared with normal birth weight infants. The positive effect of birth weight on a cognitive test score is larger for boys, children from rural or poor households, and those with less-educated mothers. Our findings suggest that health policies designed to improve birth weight could improve human capital in resource-poor settings.
    Keywords: Birth weight,Test score,Cognition,PPVT,Children,Instrumental variable,India
    JEL: I12 I15 I18 J13 J24 O12
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Galizzi, Matteo M.; Nieboer, Jeroen
    Abstract: Using a large (n=704) sample of laboratory subjects, we systematically investigate the links between the digit ratio - a biomarker for pre-natal testosterone exposure - and two measures of individual risk taking: (i) risk preferences over lotteries with real monetary incentives, and (ii) self-reported risk attitude. The digit ratio (also called 2D:4D) is the ratio of the length of the index finger to the length of the ring finger, and we consider both hands’ digit ratios. Previous studies have found that the digit ratio correlates with risk taking in some subject samples, but not others. In our sample, we find that both the right-hand and the left-hand digit ratio are significantly associated with risk preferences: subjects with lower digit ratios tend to choose riskier lotteries. Neither digit ratio, however, is associated with self-reported risk attitude.
    Keywords: testosterone; 2D:4D ratio; risk preferences; risk attitudes; ES/K001965/1
    JEL: C90 C92 D44 D81
    Date: 2018–02–27

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