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Childhood circumstances and adult outcomes: Evidence from World War II

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  • Enkelejda Havari

    (Tor Vergata University)

  • Franco Peracchi

    (Tor Vergata University and EIEF)

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of episodes of stress, poor health, financial hardship and hunger earlier in life on education and health in later life. As a source of identification, we exploit the huge temporal and regional variation of war-related events in Europe during the period from the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 to the end of World War II in 1945. We focus on the cohorts born between 1930 and 1954 in 13 European countries, and combine the available historical information with micro-level data from the Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which provides detailed retrospective information on life histories from childhood to adulthood for people born before 1955. Using these data we find that hunger episodes are more closely associated with war than any other hardship episode. Our instrumental variable estimates suggest that hunger in childhood or early adolescence has important negative effects on educational attainments and various measures of physical and mental health past age 50. They also suggest that suffering hunger for longer periods has stronger negative effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) in its series EIEF Working Papers Series with number 1115.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision: Aug 2012
Handle: RePEc:eie:wpaper:1115

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References

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  1. Sven Neelsen & Thomas Stratmann, 2010. "Effects of Prenatal and Early Life Malnutrition: Evidence from the Greek Famine," CESifo Working Paper Series 2994, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND briefs, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Sandra E Black & Paul J Devereux & Kjell G Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439, 02.
  4. Gテクrgens, Tue & Meng, Xin & Vaithianathan, Rhema, 2010. "Stunting and Selection Effects of Famine: A Case Study of the Great Chinese Famine," PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University 2, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  5. Gabriella Conti & James Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2010. "The Education-Health Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 234-38, May.
  6. Kelly Bedard & Olivier Desch�nes, 2006. "The Long-Term Impact of Military Service on Health: Evidence from World War II and Korean War Veterans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 176-194, March.
  7. Brakman, Steven & Garretsen, Harry & Schramm, Marc, 2002. "The strategic bombing of German cities during World War II and its impact on city growth," Research Report 03C03, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  8. Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2001. " Child Growth in the Time of Drought," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(4), pages 409-36, September.
  9. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing. 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  10. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2006. "Making Famine History," Working Papers, School Of Economics, University College Dublin 200610, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  11. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2010. "Causes and consequences of early-life health," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages S65-S85, March.
  12. Glewwe, Paul & Jacoby, Hanan G. & King, Elizabeth M., 2001. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement: a longitudinal analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 345-368, September.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Tarek A. Hassan & James A. Robinson, 2010. "Social Structure and Development: A Legacy of the Holocaust in Russia," NBER Working Papers 16083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
  15. Iris Kesternich & Bettina Siflinger & James P. Smith & Joachim K. Winter, 2014. "The Effects of World War II on Economic and Health Outcomes across Europe," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 103-118, March.
  16. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2010. "Human Capital Development Before Age Five," NBER Working Papers 15827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kesternich, Iris & Siflinger, Bettina & Smith, James P. & Winter, Joachim K., 2013. "Individual Behavior as a Pathway between Early-Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post-War Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 7713, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Angelini, V.; & Mierau, J.O.;, 2012. "Childhood Health and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Western Europe," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York 12/28, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Mark E McGovern, 2012. "Don't Stress: Early Life Conditions, Hypertension, and Selection into Associated Risk Factors," Working Papers, School Of Economics, University College Dublin 201227, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  4. Thomas Leoni & Rainer Eppel, 2013. "Women's Work and Family Profiles over the Lifecourse and their Subsequent Health Outcomes. Evidence for Europe," WWWforEurope Working Papers series, WWWforEurope 28, WWWforEurope.
  5. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Brandt, Martina & Schröder, Mathis, 2013. "SHARELIFE - One Century of Life Histories in Europe," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 1-4.
  6. Nicole Halmdienst & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2013. "Long-Run Effects of Childhood Shocks on Health in Late Adulthood: Evidence from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe," NRN working papers, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria 2013-01, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

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