NBER Publications by Ming-Jen Lin

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Working Papers and Chapters

May 2014Does in utero Exposure to Illness Matter? The 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Taiwan as a Natural Experiment
with Elaine M. Liu: w20166
This paper tests whether in utero conditions affect long-run developmental outcomes using the 1918 influenza pandemic in Taiwan as a natural experiment. Combining several historical and current datasets, we find that cohorts in utero during the pandemic are shorter as children/adolescents and less educated compared to other birth cohorts. We also find that they are more likely to have serious health problems including kidney disease, circulatory and respiratory problems, and diabetes in old age. Despite possible positive selection on health outcomes due to high infant mortality rates during this period (18 percent), our paper finds a strong negative impact of in utero exposure to influenza.
December 2008More Women Missing, Fewer Girls Dying: The Impact of Abortion on Sex Ratios at Birth and Excess Female Mortality in Taiwan
with Nancy Qian, Jin-Tan Liu: w14541
This paper presents novel empirical evidence on the impact of access to abortion on sex ratios at birth (SRB), excess female mortality (EFM) and fertility in Taiwan. For identification, we exploit plausibly exogenous variation in the availability of sex-selective abortion caused by the legalization of abortion. Our results show that the legalization of abortion accounts for almost all of the observed increase in SRB during the 1980s and decreased EFM by approximately 20%. Approximately ten more female infants survived for every one hundred that were aborted. Interestingly, we find that while abortion reduced overall fertility, it increased fertility for older mothers.
January 2007As Low Birth Weight Babies Grow, Can 'Good' Parents Buffer this Adverse Factor? A Research Note.
with Jin-Tan Liu, Shin-Yi Chou: w12857
This research note combines two national Taiwanese datasets to investigate the relationship between low birth weight (LBW) babies, their family background and their future academic outcomes. We find that LBW is negatively correlated with the probability of such children attending university at the age of 18; however, when both parents are college or senior high school graduates, such negative effects may be partially offset. We also show that discrimination against daughters does occur, but only in those cases where the daughters were LBW babies. Moreover, high parental education (HPE) can only buffer the LBW shock among moderately-LBW children (as compared to very-LBW children) and full term-LBW children (as compared to preterm-LBW children).

Contact and additional information for this authorAll papers and publicationsWorking Papers onlyWorking Papers with publication info


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