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The intergenerational transmission of health in early childhood—Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study

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  • Coneus, Katja
  • Spiess, C. Katharina

Abstract

Children's physical health problems have clear and lasting impacts on a variety of later life outcomes, as a growing body of research has shown. Furthermore, problems such as obesity, motor impairment, and chronic diseases entail high social costs, particularly when childhood health problems carry over into adulthood. This study examines intergenerational relationships between parent and child health based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), in particular the recently introduced Mother and Child Questionnaires. Using various health measures, including anthropometric measures, information on health disorders, and “self-rated” health measures, we find significant relationships between parental and child health during the first three years of life. Overall, our results suggest that when controlling for parental income, education, and family composition, parents with poor health are more likely to have children with poor health. However, there are significant differences between health measures and age groups. For some health measures, our results suggest an increasing health gradient by age.

Suggested Citation

  • Coneus, Katja & Spiess, C. Katharina, 2012. "The intergenerational transmission of health in early childhood—Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 89-97.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:10:y:2012:i:1:p:89-97
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2011.03.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kemptner, Daniel & Marcus, Jan, 2013. "Spillover Effects of Maternal Education on Child's Health and Health Behavior," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 29-54.
    2. Huong Thu Le & Ha Trong Nguyen, 2015. "Intergenerational Transmission in Health: Causal estimates from fixed effects instrumental variables models for two cohorts of Australian children," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1509, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    3. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:27:y:2017:i:pa:p:126-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bénédicte Apouey & Pierre-Yves Geoffard, 2015. "Le gradient et la transmission intergénérationnelle de la santé pendant l'enfance," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 475(1), pages 113-133.
    5. Perelman, Julian, 2014. "Are chronic diseases related to height? Results from the Portuguese National Health Interview Survey," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 56-66.
    6. Guven, Cahit & Lee, Wang-Sheng, 2015. "Height, aging and cognitive abilities across Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 16-29.
    7. Thompson, Owen, 2014. "Genetic mechanisms in the intergenerational transmission of health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 132-146.
    8. Classen, Timothy J. & Thompson, Owen, 2016. "Genes and the intergenerational transmission of BMI and obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 121-133.
    9. Schnitzlein Daniel D. & Wunder Christoph, 2016. "Are We Architects of Our Own Happiness? The Importance of Family Background for Well-Being," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 125-149, January.
    10. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Kugler, Adriana D., 2016. "Intergenerational persistence of health: Do immigrants get healthier as they remain in the U.S. for more generations?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 136-148.
    11. Batscheider, Ariane & Rzehak, Peter & Teuner, Christina M. & Wolfenstetter, Silke B. & Leidl, Reiner & von Berg, Andrea & Berdel, Dietrich & Hoffmann, Barbara & Heinrich, Joachim, 2014. "Development of BMI values of German children and their healthcare costs," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 56-66.
    12. Dolton, Peter & Xiao, Mimi, 2017. "The intergenerational transmission of body mass index across countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 140-152.
    13. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:209-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Anette Fasang & Marcel Raab, 2014. "Beyond Transmission: Intergenerational Patterns of Family Formation Among Middle-Class American Families," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1703-1728, October.
    15. Valentina Tonei, 2017. "Mother’s health after childbirth: does delivery method matter?," Discussion Papers 17/11, Department of Economics, University of York.
    16. Bauldry, Shawn & Shanahan, Michael J. & Boardman, Jason D. & Miech, Richard A. & Macmillan, Ross, 2012. "A life course model of self-rated health through adolescence and young adulthood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(7), pages 1311-1320.
    17. Dolton, Peter & Xiao, Mimi, 2015. "The intergenerational transmission of BMI in China," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 90-113.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intergenerational transmission; Child health; Parental health; Early childhood;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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