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Critical Periods During Childhood And Adolescence


  • Gerard J. Berg
  • Petter Lundborg
  • Paul Nystedt
  • Dan-Olof Rooth


We identify the ages that constitute sensitive (or critical) periods in children's development towards their adult health status, skills, and human capital. For this, we use data on families migrating into Sweden from countries that are poorer, with less healthy conditions. Late-life health is proxied by adult height and other adult outcomes. The relation between siblings’ ages at migration and their adult outcomes allows us to estimate the causal effect of conditions at specific childhood ages. We effectively exploit that, for siblings, the migration occurs simultaneously in calendar time but at different developmental stages (ages). We find evidence that the period just before the puberty growth spurt constitutes a critical period for adult height and we find related critical periods for adult cognition, mental health, and education.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerard J. Berg & Petter Lundborg & Paul Nystedt & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Critical Periods During Childhood And Adolescence," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(6), pages 1521-1557, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:12:y:2014:i:6:p:1521-1557

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    Cited by:

    1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Pinger, Pia R., 2016. "Transgenerational effects of childhood conditions on third generation health and education outcomes," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 103-120.
    2. Chrysanthou, Georgios Marios & Vasilakis, Chrysovalantis, 2018. "The Dynamics and Determinants of Bullying Victimisation," IZA Discussion Papers 11902, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. repec:oup:qjecon:v:133:y:2018:i:3:p:1107-1162. is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Lemmermann, Dominique & Riphahn, Regina T., 2018. "The causal effect of age at migration on youth educational attainment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 78-99.
    5. Elisabetta De Cao, 2014. "The height production function from birth to maturity," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-31, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Valeria Groppo & Kati Kraehnert, 2017. "The impact of extreme weather events on education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 433-472, April.
    7. Øystein Hernæs & Simen Markussen & Knut Røed, 2019. "Television, Cognitive Ability, and High School Completion," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(2), pages 371-400.
    8. repec:cup:jechis:v:78:y:2018:i:03:p:904-937_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren, 2018. "The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I: Childhood Exposure Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(3), pages 1107-1162.
    10. Martínez-Carrión, José Miguel & Cañabate-Cabezuelos, José, 2016. "Poverty and rural height penalty in inland Spain during the nutrition transition," MPRA Paper 74356, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 2016.
    11. Chrysanthou, Georgios Marios & Vasilakis, Chrysovalantis, 2018. "The Dynamics and Determinants of Bullying Victimisation," IZA Discussion Papers 11902, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:53-66 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Richard Akresh & Sonia Bhalotra & Marinella Leone & Una O. Osili, 2017. "First and Second Generation Impacts of the Biafran War," NBER Working Papers 23721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:25:y:2017:i:c:p:65-84 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Åslund, Olof & Böhlmark, Anders & Skans, Oskar Nordström, 2015. "Childhood and family experiences and the social integration of young migrants," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 135-144.
    16. Alexander, Rohan & Ward, Zachary, 2018. "Age at Arrival and Assimilation During the Age of Mass Migration," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 78(03), pages 904-937, September.
    17. Michael Levere, "undated". "The Labor Market Consequences of Receiving Disability Benefits During Childhood," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 4a4b6e2d970c4e669ba5f4126, Mathematica Policy Research.
    18. repec:dgr:rugsom:14018-eef is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Clarke, Andrew & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Language Barriers and Immigrant Health Production," IZA Discussion Papers 8846, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. repec:dem:demres:v:40:y:2019:i:43 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:102-113 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Lawrence F. Katz, 2016. "The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(4), pages 855-902, April.
    23. Sander Gerritsen & Mark Kattenberg & Sonny Kuijpers, 2019. "The impact of age at arrival on education and mental health," CPB Discussion Paper 389, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    24. Han, Yoonsun & Lee, Seonglim, 2016. "Heterogeneous relationships between family private education spending and youth academic performance in Korea," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 136-142.

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