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Universal Investment in Infants and Long-Run Health: Evidence from Denmark's 1937 Home Visiting Program


  • Jonas Hjort
  • Mikkel Sølvsten
  • Miriam Wüst


This paper examines the long-run health effects of a universal infant health intervention, the 1937 Danish home visiting program, which targeted all infants. Using administrative population data and exploiting variation in the timing of implementation across municipalities, we find that treated individuals enjoy higher age-specific survival rates during middle age (45-64), experience fewer hospital nights, and are less likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. These results suggest that an improved nutrition and disease environment in infancy "programmed" individuals for lower predisposition to serious adult diseases.

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  • Jonas Hjort & Mikkel Sølvsten & Miriam Wüst, 2017. "Universal Investment in Infants and Long-Run Health: Evidence from Denmark's 1937 Home Visiting Program," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 78-104, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:78-104 Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20150087

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Sam Watson’s journal round-up for 13th November 2017
      by Sam Watson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2017-11-13 18:33:33

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-


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