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Childhood Economic Conditions and Length of Life: Evidence from the UK Boyd Orr Cohort, 1937–2005

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Author Info

  • Frijters, Paul

    ()
    (University of Queensland)

  • Shields, Michael A.

    ()
    (Monash University)

  • Hatton, Timothy J.

    ()
    (University of Essex)

  • Martin, Richard M.

    ()
    (University of Bristol)

Abstract

We study the importance of childhood socioeconomic conditions in explaining differences in life expectancy using data from a sample of around 5,000 children collected in the UK in 1937-39, who have been traced through official death records up to 2005. We estimate a number of duration of life models that control for unobserved household heterogeneity. Our results confirm that childhood conditions such as household income and the quality of the home environment are significant predictors of longevity. Importantly, however, the role of socio-economic status appears to differ across cause of death, with household income only being a significant predictor of death from cancer. Moreover, we find that children born in a location with relatively high infant mortality rates live significantly fewer years, that 1st born children in the family live significantly more years, and that there is a very high correlation in longevity across children from the same family across all causes of death. We estimate that the difference in life expectancy between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ households is as large as 11 years.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3042.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2010, 29 (1), 39-47
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3042

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Keywords: length of life; duration models; socio-economic characteristics; childhood;

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References

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  1. Alison Booth & Hiau Kee, 2009. "Birth order matters: the effect of family size and birth order on educational attainment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 367-397, April.
  2. Carlos Bozzoli & Angus S. Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2007. "Child Mortality, Income and Adult Height," NBER Working Papers 12966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Modin, Bitte, 2002. "Birth order and mortality: a life-long follow-up of 14,200 boys and girls born in early 20th century Sweden," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1051-1064, April.
  4. Timothy J. Hatton & Roy >. Bailey, 2000. "Seebohm Rowntree and the postwar poverty puzzle," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 53(3), pages 517-543, 08.
  5. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
  6. Jenifer Hamil-Luker & Angela O’rand, 2007. "Gender differences in the link between childhood socioeconomic conditions and heart attack risk in adulthood," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 137-158, February.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Childhood Economic Conditions and Length of Life - Evidence from Boyd-Orr Cohort
    by Liam Delaney in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2010-08-10 21:51:00
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Cited by:
  1. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Stutzer, Alois, 2014. "Economic Approaches to Understanding Change in Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 8131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Yeung, Gary Y.C. & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten & Portrait, France, 2012. "The Impact of Early Life Economic Conditions on Cause-Specific Mortality During Adulthood," IZA Discussion Papers 6520, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Martine Mariotti, 2012. "Father’s employment and sons’ stature: the long run effects of a positive regional employment shock in South Africa’s mining industry," Working Papers 02/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  4. Brandt, Martina & Deindl, Christian & Hank, Karsten, 2012. "Tracing the origins of successful aging: The role of childhood conditions and social inequality in explaining later life health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 74(9), pages 1418-1425.
  5. Martine Mariotti, 2012. "Living Standards In South Africa’s Former Homelands," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics 2012-570, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  6. Owen Thompson, 2011. "Racial Disparities in the Cognition-Health Relationship," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics 2011-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  7. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2011. "Destined for (Un)Happiness: Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction?," IZA Discussion Papers 5819, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Pfeiffer, Friedhelm & Reuss, Karsten , 2013. "Improving Educational Investments: A Welfare Analysis for Europe," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 13(3), pages 77-94.
  9. Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2013. "On the Power of Childhood Impressions for Skill Formation: Initial Evidence and Unsettled Questions," IZA Discussion Papers 7217, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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