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Collateral damage: Educational attainment and labor market outcomes among German war and post-war cohorts

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  • Hendrik Jürges

    ()
    (Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal)

Abstract

We use data from the West German 1970 census to explore the link between being born during or shortly after World War II and educational and labor market outcomes 25 years later. We document, for the first time, that men and women born in the relatively short period between November 1945 and May 1946 have significantly and substantially lower educational attainment and occupational status than cohorts born shortly before or after. Several alternative explanations for this new finding are put to test. Most likely, a short but severe spell of quantitative and qualitative malnutrition immediately around the end of the war has impaired intrauterine conditions in first trimester pregnancies and resulted in longterm detriments among the affected cohorts. This conjecture is corroborated by evidence from Austria.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library in its series Schumpeter Discussion Papers with number sdp12003.

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Length: 51
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bwu:schdps:sdp12003

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Web page: http://elpub.bib.uni-wuppertal.de

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Keywords: fetal origins hypothesis; malnutrition; educational attainment; labor market outcomes;

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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2006. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19425, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Nicholas J. Sanders & Charles F. Stoecker, 2011. "Where Have All the Young Men Gone? Using Gender Ratios to Measure Fetal Death Rates," NBER Working Papers 17434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kemptner, Daniel & Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen, 2011. "Changes in compulsory schooling and the causal effect of education on health: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 340-354, March.
  4. Nilsson, J Peter, 2008. "Does a pint a day affect your child’s pay? The effect of prenatal alcohol exposure on adult outcomes," Working Paper Series 2008:4, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana, 2008. "Adult height and childhood disease," Working Papers 2008-25, FEDEA.
    • Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2008. "Adult height and childhood disease," Working Papers 1119, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  6. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-72, Summer.
  7. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2007. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," NBER Working Papers 13347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen & Salm, Martin, 2009. "Does Schooling Affect Health Behavior? Evidence from the Educational Expansion in Western Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4330, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
  10. Steffen Reinhold & Hendrik Jürges, 2009. "Secondary School Fees and the Causal Effect of Schooling on Health Behavior," MEA discussion paper series 09181, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  11. Neelsen, Sven & Stratmann, Thomas, 2011. "Effects of prenatal and early life malnutrition: Evidence from the Greek famine," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 479-488, May.
  12. Lindeboom, Maarten & Portrait, France & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2010. "Long-run effects on longevity of a nutritional shock early in life: The Dutch Potato famine of 1846-1847," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 617-629, September.
  13. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2011. "Why Young Boys Stumble: Early Tracking, Age and Gender Bias in the German School System," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(4), pages 371-394, November.
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