The case

The theme of the Econometric Game 2012 was how maternal smoking affects infants’ birth weight during pregnancy.

Birthweight is a leading indicator of infant health and adverse birth outcomes are known to have large costs, both in the form of direct medical costs and in terms of long-term developmental consequences. For example, it has been shown that low birthweight babies have higher mortality rates, developmental problems in cognition and attention that persist until adolescence, and later in life are also more likely to be unemployed and earn lower wages. For more details, see Abrevaya, J., and Dahl, C.M. (2008), “The ef­fects of birth inputs on birthweight: evidence from quantile estimation on panel data,” Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, 26, 379–397.

It is, therefore, interesting and important to study the factors affecting infants’ birthweight and, in particu­lar, to study how maternal behaviour influences birth outcomes. This problem is used as the backdrop for the Econometric Game 2012, which is based on a dataset containing information about newborns (including their birthweight), the mothers (including their smoking behaviour), and the pregnancies. The purpose of the exercise is to assess the effects of maternal smoking behaviour on infants’ birthweight. This will require the deployment of a wide array of econometric tools and the task is fraught with the usual difficulties of applied econometrics.

Description of the case:
Case A
Case B

The top 3:

  1. University of Copenhagen
  2. Aarhus University
  3. Harvard University

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