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The Intergenerational Transmission of Health in Early Childhood

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  • Katja Coneus
  • C. Katharina Spieß
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    Abstract

    The prevalence and importance of children's physical health problems have been increasingly recognized in recent years. Physical health problems of children such as obesity, motor impairment and chronic diseases cause social costs. Further, they can lead directly to adult physical health problems, which cause additional social costs. This paper examines the intergenerational link and transmission of both maternal and paternal health on children's health in Germany. We investigate this issue using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), making particular use of the mother and child questionnaires. These data allow us to capture a broad set ofhealth measures: anthropometric, self-rated health and "more objective" health measures. The results indicate significant relationships between parental and child health in the first and third year of life. In order to take into account the endogeneity of parental health, we estimate fixed effect models. Overall, we find, controlling for parental income, education and family composition, that parents who experience poor health have children with significantly poorer health. For example, the father's bodymass index (BMI) is a predictor for their children's BMI. Mothers who consider their health as good, have also healthier children.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 126.

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    Length: 38 p.
    Date of creation: 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp126

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    Keywords: Intergenerational transmission; child health; parental health; early childhood;

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    References

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    1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2003. "Why the apple doesn't fall far: understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital," CeMMAP working papers CWP16/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Weili Ding & Steven Lehrer & J. Niles Rosenquist & Janet Audrain-McGovern, 2006. "The Impact of Poor Health on Education: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers," Working Papers 1045, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    3. Michael Baker & Mark Stabile & Catherine Deri, 2001. "What do Self-Reported, Objective, Measures of Health Measure?," NBER Working Papers 8419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Mothers and Others: Who Invests in Children’s Health?," Working Papers 277, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    5. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030, August.
    6. Janet Currie & Enrico Moreti, 2005. "Biology As Destiny? Short And Long-Run Determinants Of Intergenerational Transmission Of Birth Weight," Working Papers id:194, eSocialSciences.
    7. Bereket Kebede, 2004. "Genetic Endowments, Parental and Child Health in Rural Ethiopia," Development and Comp Systems 0409034, EconWPA.
    8. Anne Case & Diana Lee & Christina Paxson, 2007. "The Income Gradient In Children'S Health: A Comment On Currie, Shields And Wheatley Price," Working Papers 1005, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    9. Cawley, John & Spiess, C. Katharina, 2008. "Obesity and skill attainment in early childhood," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 388-397, December.
    10. Heckman, James J., 2007. "The Economics, Technology and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2875, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
    13. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
    14. Martin Salm & Daniel Schunk, 2008. "The role of childhood health for the intergenerational transmission of human capital: Evidence from administrative data," MEA discussion paper series 08164, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    15. Currie, Janet & Stabile, Mark, 2006. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1094-1118, November.
    16. Rosemary Hyson & Janet Currie, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 245-250, May.
    17. Ahlburg, Dennis, 1998. "Intergenerational Transmission of Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 265-70, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Coneus, Katja & Spieß, Christa Katharina, 2010. "Pollution exposure and infant health: Evidence from Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-079, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Thomas Siedler & Jürgen Schupp & C. Katharina Spieß & Gert G. Wagner, 2008. "The German Socio-Economic Panel as a Reference Data Set," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 150, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Grégory Ponthière, 2010. "Mortality, family and lifestyles," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564898, HAL.
    4. Katja Coneus & C. Katharina Spieß, 2010. "Pollution Exposure and Infant Health: Evidence from Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 312, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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