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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 of health 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 body mass 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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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.88605.de/diw_sp0126.pdf
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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:
    Publication status: Published in: Economics & Human Biology 10 (2012), 1, 89-87
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp126

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    Related research

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

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    References

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    1. Cawley, John & Spiess, C. Katharina, 2008. "Obesity and skill attainment in early childhood," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 388-397, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2003. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 10066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer & J. Niels Rosenquist & Janet Audrain-McGovern, 2006. "The Impact of Poor Health on Education: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers," NBER Working Papers 12304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Michael Baker & Mark Stabile & Catherine Deri, 2004. "What Do Self-Reported, Objective, Measures of Health Measure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2004. "Child Mental Health and Human Capital Accumulation: The Case of ADHD," NBER Working Papers 10435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Case, Anne & Lee, Diana & Paxson, Christina, 2008. "The income gradient in children's health: A comment on Currie, Shields and Wheatley Price," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 801-807, May.
    10. Case, Anne & Paxson, Christina, 2001. "Mothers and others: who invests in children's health?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 301-328, May.
    11. 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.
    12. Bereket Kebede, 2003. "Genetic Endowments, Parental and Child Health in Rural Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2003-10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    13. 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..
    14. Heckman, James J., 2007. "The Economics, Technology and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2875, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2004. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn From California's Recent Experience," NBER Working Papers 10251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2005. "Biology as Destiny? Short and Long-Run Determinants of Intergenerational Transmission of Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 11567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Gregory Ponthiere, 2011. "Mortality, Family and Lifestyles," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 175-190, June.
    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. 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.
    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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