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Does Grief Transfer across Generations? Bereavements during Pregnancy and Child Outcomes

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  • Sandra E. Black
  • Paul J. Devereux
  • Kjell G. Salvanes

Abstract

Using population data from Norway, we examine the effects of stress induced by the death of the mother's parent during pregnancy on both the short-run and the long-run outcomes of the infant. Using a variety of empirical strategies to address the issue of nonrandom exposure to death during a pregnancy, we find small negative effects on birth outcomes. However, we find no evidence of adverse effects on adult outcomes. This suggests that, though there may be measurable effects on birth outcomes, acute psychological stressors during pregnancy have limited adverse consequences for the child's success in education and the labor market. (JEL I12, J13, J16)

Suggested Citation

  • Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2016. "Does Grief Transfer across Generations? Bereavements during Pregnancy and Child Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 193-223, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:193-223
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20140262
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2009. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1729-1772.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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