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The Long-term Health Effects of Mass Political Violence: Evidence From China’s Cultural Revolution

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  • Asadul Islam
  • Paul A. Raschky
  • Russell Smyth

Abstract

There is much interest in the causes of several adverse health outcomes in middle and old age. In searching for new explanations for adverse health outcomes later in life, researchers have started to look beyond behavioural risk factors to examine the effect of shocks to health in utero and in childhood on health in old age. In this paper we extend this literature to examine the long-term health effects of mass political violence experienced in utero and in childhood using China’s Cultural Revolution as a natural experiment. We find that individuals who were in utero in the Cultural Revolution have reduced lung capacity later in life, but we find no evidence that being in utero has adverse effects on other health indicators later in life. We find more evidence that being an adolescent in the Cultural Revolution has an adverse effect on health later in life. Specifically, we find that individuals who were adolescents in the Cultural Revolution have higher blood pressure and reduced ability to engage in activities of daily living later in life. We also find that males who were adolescents in the Cultural Revolution have reduced cognitive skills later in life, while females who were adolescents in the Cultural Revolution have reduced lung capacity in middle and old age. specific recommendations for the Canadian context.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Monash University, Department of Economics in its series Monash Economics Working Papers with number 32-11.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2011-32

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Keywords: Health; Idiosyncratic Shocks; Cultural Revolution; Long-term effects;

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  1. David Cutler & Angus Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "The Determinants of Mortality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 97-120, Summer.
  2. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
  3. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther & Postel-Vinay, Gilles & Watts, Tim, 2007. "Long Run Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in 19th Century France," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6140, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. Zhang, Junsen & Liu, Pak-Wai & Yung, Linda, 2007. "The Cultural Revolution and returns to schooling in China: Estimates based on twins," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 631-639, November.
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