This paper uses the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as a natural experiment in diurnal fasting and fetal health. Among births to Arab parents in Michigan, we find prenatal exposure to Ramadan results in lower birth weight. Exposure in the first month of gestation also
reduces the number of male births. Turning to long-term "fetal origins"
effects, we find Muslims in Uganda and Iraq are 20 percent more likely to be disabled as adults if early pregnancy overlapped with Ramadan. Estimated effects are larger for mental (or learning) disabilities. Our results suggest that relatively mild prenatal exposures can have persistent effects. (JEL I12, J16, O15, O17, Z12 )
Almond, Douglas, and Bhashkar Mazumder.
"Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Ramadan Observance during Pregnancy."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
Cultural Economics: Religion