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Essays on Relationships Between Initial Life Conditions and Later Life Outcomes

This thesis aims to add on to the existing literature about the implications of early life nutrition and health conditions on the later life outcomes. The first essay exploits the exogenous variation in the intensity of an earthquake happened in Gujarat to estimate the impact on the health stock of the children in-utero or below three years at the time of the earthquake in 2001. Estimates based on the difference-in-difference strategy indicate that the girls exposed to the earthquake have significantly lower height as compared to their counterparts. The second essay examines the impact of negative rainfall shocks at the time of birth on the educational outcomes such as years of education completed and science as the field of study. It exploits the variation in the individual level data on educational outcomes taken from the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS-2, 2012) data of 2011-12 and the rainfall data available from the University of Delaware. Results show that the children exposed to rainfall shocks at the time of birth complete less years of education as compared to their counterparts. In the context of subject choice, the findings indicate that the adverse effect of rainfall shocks on the subject choice is likely to be driven by the individual-level and supply side variables. The third essay builds on the findings of the previous two essays which analyze the impact of early life shocks on health and educational outcomes separately. Using four rounds (2002, 2006-07, 2009-10 and 2013-14) of longitudinal Young Lives Survey (YLS) data, this essay examines the associations between early life health and later life health and educational outcomes when the later life outcomes are studied simultaneously. Results based on the multinomial logit analysis indicate that the association between initial life health and later life educational outcomes is dominated by the association between the initial life health and later life health outcomes. The fourth essay evaluates the later life health benefits of an early life intervention known as the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). Results of this essay show that the positive effects of this scheme are visible in the later life when the components of this scheme are not accessible to the children. This thesis contributes to the literature by highlighting the importance of early life conditions in improving human capabilities in later life.

Student Name: 
Gaurav Dhamija
Faculty Advisor: