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Does in utero Exposure to Illness Matter? The 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Taiwan as a Natural Experiment

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  • Lin, Ming-Jen

    ()
    (National Taiwan University)

  • Liu, Elaine M.

    ()
    (University of Houston)

Abstract

This paper uses the 1918 influenza pandemic in Taiwan as a natural experiment to test whether in utero conditions affect long-run developmental outcomes. Combining several historical and current datasets, we find that cohorts in utero during the pandemic are shorter as child/teenagers, less educated, and more likely to have serious health problems, including kidney disease, circulatory, respiratory problems, and diabetes in old age, than other birth cohorts. Despite the possible positive selection on health from high infant mortality rates during this period (18 percent), our findings suggest a strong negative effect of in utero exposure to influenza.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8181.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: May 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2014, 37, 152-163
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8181

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Keywords: mortality; education; disease; fetal origins hypothesis; 1918 influenza; height;

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References

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  1. Erica Field & Omar Robles & Maximo Torero, 2009. "Iodine Deficiency and Schooling Attainment in Tanzania," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 140-69, October.
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  5. Alan I. Barreca, 2010. "The Long-Term Economic Impact of In Utero and Postnatal Exposure to Malaria," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 865-892.
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  7. Janet Currie & Tom Vogl, 2012. "Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 18371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Elaine Kelly, 2011. "The Scourge of Asian Flu: In utero Exposure to Pandemic Influenza and the Development of a Cohort of British Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(4), pages 669-694.
  14. Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2008. "Adult height and childhood disease," Working Papers 1119, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  15. Jason Boardman & Daniel Powers & Yolanda Padilla & Robert Hummer, 2002. "Low birth weight, social factors, and developmental outcomes among children in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 353-368, May.
  16. Neelsen, Sven & Stratmann, Thomas, 2012. "Long-run effects of fetal influenza exposure: Evidence from Switzerland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 58-66.
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Cited by:
  1. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Mariesa Herrmann, 2011. "From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health," NBER Working Papers 17676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-72, Summer.
  3. Richter, André & Robling, Per Olof, 2013. "Multigenerational e ffects of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic in Sweden," Working Paper Series 5/2013, Swedish Institute for Social Research.

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