Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MSIDEC)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Economics

First Advisor

Bruce Wydick

Abstract

Orofacial cleft is one of the most common and treatable birth defects in the world. If left untreated, orofacial cleft can impair normal speech development, growth, and could lead to a number of health consequences later in life. The main motivation of the study is to measure the impact of being born with cleft and the cleft reparative surgery on overall speech and health cleft for teenagers in India using difference-in-differences approach along with household fixed effects method. An overall health outcome was measured using height, weight, grip strength and BMI, and the speech acceptability was measured using a “Universal Parameters of Speech Evaluation”. At the current sample size, the result suggests that there is no significant impact of being born with cleft and receiving cleft reparative surgery on the overall health outcome. However, being born with cleft decreases overall speech acceptability by 0.327 (p<0.01) standard deviations but I find no significant impact of receiving surgical treatment on overall speech quality.

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