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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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  1. Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2008. "Adult height and childhood disease," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. 1119, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
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  6. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Marten Palme, 2007. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," Discussion Papers, Columbia University, Department of Economics 0607-19, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  7. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2007. "Height, Health and Cognitive Function at Older Ages," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. 1011, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
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  12. 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.
  13. Neelsen, Sven & Stratmann, Thomas, 2012. "Long-run effects of fetal influenza exposure: Evidence from Switzerland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 58-66.
  14. Philip Oreopoulos & Mark Stabile & Randy Walld & Leslie L. Roos, 2008. "Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Consequences of Poor Infant Health: An Analysis Using Siblings and Twins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  15. Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
  16. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2008. "Height, Health and Cognitive Function at Older Ages," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing. 1127, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  17. Erica Field & Omar Robles & Maximo Torero, 2009. "Iodine Deficiency and Schooling Attainment in Tanzania," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 140-69, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet & Herrmann, Mariesa, 2012. "From infant to mother: Early disease environment and future maternal health," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 475-483.
  2. Richter, André & Robling, Per Olof, 2013. "Multigenerational e ffects of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic in Sweden," Working Paper Series, Swedish Institute for Social Research 5/2013, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  3. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-72, Summer.

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