A new GLO Discussion Paper finds a nonlinear (but positive) relationship between the length of sunlight and birth outcomes in China.
The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.
GLO Discussion Paper No. 452, 2020
Prenatal Sunshine Exposure and Birth Outcomes in China – Download PDF
by Zhang, Xin & Wang, Yixuan & Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xun
GLO Fellow Xi Chen
Author Abstract: This paper is one of the first to examine the associations between prenatal sunshine exposure and birth outcomes, specifically the incidence of low birth weight (LBW) and small for gestational age (SGA), based on a nationally representative birth record dataset in China. During the sample period in the 1990s, migration was limited in rural China, allowing us to address the identification challenges, like residential sorting and avoidance behaviors. We found a nonlinear relationship between the length of sunlight and birth outcomes. In particular, prenatal exposure to increasing sunshine was associated with a reduction in the incidence of LBW and SGA, especially in the second trimester during pregnancy. This finding was consistent with the clinical evidence suggesting positive effects of sunshine on birth outcomes via obtaining vitamin D or relieving maternal stress.
GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS, EconPapers). Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.