Alcohol Exposure In Utero and Child Academic Achievement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We examine the effect of alcohol exposure in utero on child academic achievement. As well as studying the effect of any alcohol exposure, we investigate the effect of the dose, pattern, and duration of exposure. We use a genetic variant in the maternal alcohol-metabolism gene ADH1B as an instrument for alcohol exposure, whilst controlling for the child's genotype on the same variant. We show that the instrument is unrelated to an extensive range of maternal and paternal characteristics and behaviours. OLS regressions suggest an ambiguous association between alcohol exposure in utero and children's academic attainment, but there is a strong social gradient in maternal drinking, with mothers in higher socio-economic groups more likely to drink. In stark contrast to the OLS, the IV estimates show negative effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on child educational attainment. These results are very robust to an extensive set of model specifications. In addition, we show that that the effects are solely driven by the maternal genotype, with no impact of the child's genotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-667
Number of pages34
JournalEconomic Journal
Volume124
Issue number576
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Bibliographical note

M1 - Article

Keywords

  • MENDELIAN RANDOMIZATION
  • GENETIC ASSOCIATIONS
  • INSTRUMENTAL VARIABLES
  • DEHYDROGENASE GENES
  • LIVER-DISEASE
  • FETAL ORIGINS
  • BIRTH-WEIGHT
  • RISK-FACTORS
  • ALDH2 GENE
  • POLYMORPHISMS

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