UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME DU LAC
Our project will consider an alternative and previously-overlooked explanation: that children born throughout the year are not initially similar but are conceived by women with different socioeconomic characteristics. To consider this alternative explanation, this project will have three specific aims. First, this project will use Vital Statistics and census data to document changes in the characteristics of the average woman giving birth throughout the year. Second, this project will use census data to investigate how much of the difference in outcomes (including outcomes related to health, schooling, and earnings) ascribed to season of birth can be explained by simply controlling for the maternal backgrounds of individuals. Third, this project will use Vital Statistics and National Climatic Data Center data to explore weather conditions as a partial explanation for differential fertility outcomes between different groups of women throughout the year. This work will advance research in multiple disciplines, including work on the returns to schooling, work on women?s fertility decisions, and work on the relationship between season of birth and later outcomes. This study may provide an important-but-unexplored partial explanation for why outcomes are related to month of birth. This work will also have important implications for a large body of economic research on returns-to schooling which relies on strong assumptions for why outcomes differ by season of birth; our preliminary studies show that the assumptions made by this body of literature are almost certainly untrue.