Instrumental variable estimation of the causal effect of hunger early in life on health later in life
AbstractNumerous studies have evaluated the effect of nutrition early in life on health much later in life by comparing individuals born during a famine to others. Nutritional intake is typically unobserved and endogenous, whereas famines arguably provide exogenous variation in the provision of nutrition. However, living through a famine early in life does not necessarily imply a lack of nutrition during that age interval, and vice versa, and in this sense the observed difference at most provides a qualitative assessment of the average causal effect of a nutritional shortage, which is the parameter of interest. In this paper we estimate this average causal effect on health outcomes later in life, by applying instrumental variable estimation, using data with self-reported periods of hunger earlier in life, with famines as instruments. The data contain samples from European countries and include birth cohorts exposed to various famines in the 20th century. We use two-sample IV estimation to deal with imperfect recollection of conditions at very early stages of life. The estimated average causal effects often exceed famine effects by a factor three.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2012:6.
Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 28 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Nutrition; famine; ageing; developmental origins; height; blood pressure; obesity; two-sample IV;
Other versions of this item:
- van den Berg, Gerard J. & Pinger, Pia & Schoch, Johannes, 2011. "Instrumental Variable Estimation of the Causal Effect of Hunger Early in Life on Health Later in Life," IZA Discussion Papers 6110, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- van den Berg, Gerard J. & Pinger, Pia R. & Schoch, Johannes, 2012. "Instrumental variable estimation of the causal effect of hunger early in life on health later in life," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-019, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
- C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-04-03 (All new papers)
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