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Testing the Fetal Origins Hypothesis in a developing country: evidence from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

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  • Richard E. Nelson

    (Pharmacotherapy Outcomes Research Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA)

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    Abstract

    The 1918 Influenza Pandemic is used as a natural experiment to test the Fetal Origins Hypothesis. This hypothesis states that individual health as well as socioeconomic outcomes, such as educational attainment, employment status, and wages, are affected by the health of that individual while in utero. Repeated cross sections from the Pesquisa Mensal de Emprego (PME), a labor market survey from Brazil, are used to test this hypothesis. I find evidence to support the Fetal Origins Hypothesis. In particular, compared to individuals born in the few years surrounding the Influenza Pandemic, those who were in utero during the pandemic are less likely to be college educated, be employed, have formal employment, or know how to read and have fewer years of schooling and a lower hourly wage. These results underscore the importance of fetal health especially in developing countries. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1544
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 10 ()
    Pages: 1181-1192

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:19:y:2010:i:10:p:1181-1192

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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    1. Carlos Bozzoli & Angus S. Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2007. "Child Mortality, Income and Adult Height," NBER Working Papers 12966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
    3. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro & Flavio Cunha, 2004. "The Technology of Skill Formation," 2004 Meeting Papers 681, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    5. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Zhang, Junsen, 2006. "Do Population Control Policies Induce More Human Capital Investment? Twins, Birthweight, and China's 'One Child' Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 2082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Kenneth I. Wolpin & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2000. "Natural "Natural Experiments" in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(4), pages 827-874, December.
    7. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
    8. Lam, David & Schoeni, Robert F, 1993. "Effects of Family Background on Earnings and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from Brazil," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 710-40, August.
    9. Erica M. Field & Omar Robles & Máximo Torero, 2008. "The Cognitive Link Between Geography and Development: Iodine Deficiency and Schooling Attainment in Tanzania," NBER Working Papers 13838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Riggs, Paul & Cuff, Timothy, 2013. "Ladies from Hell, Aberdeen Free Gardeners, and the Russian influenza: An anthropometric analysis of WWI-era Scottish soldiers and civilians," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 69-77.
    2. Janet Currie & Tom Vogl, 2013. "Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, 05.
    3. John Parman, 2013. "Childhood Health and Sibling Outcomes: The Shared Burden and Benefit of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic," NBER Working Papers 19505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Mariesa Herrmann, 2011. "From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health," NBER Working Papers 17676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Bejenariu, Simona & Mitrut, Andreea, 2012. "Austerity Measures and Infant Health. Lessons from an Unexpected Wage Cut Policy," Working Paper Series 2012:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics, revised 10 Oct 2013.

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