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The effects of in utero exposure to the 1918 influenza pandemic on family formation

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  • Fletcher, Jason M.

Abstract

A growing literature ties in utero conditions to life course outcomes, including education, earnings, and adult health and mortality. A smaller literature has begun to examine the intergenerational impacts of in utero conditions. A link between these two literatures—the impacts of in utero conditions on family formation—has had few examinations but offers a potential set of mechanisms for the intergenerational reach of early conditions. This paper draws from the 1960 US Decennial Census to examine whether individuals exposed in utero to the 1918/19 influenza pandemic had different family formation patterns than adjacent unexposed cohorts. The findings suggest small overall effects on marriage rates, number of children, and several measures of “type” of spouse for men, but moderate effects for women. For example, women with in utero exposure during their first trimester marry men with 0.2 fewer years of schooling than those not exposed. The findings show that exposed individuals have spouses with lower schooling than unexposed counterparts, this effect is particularly large for women, and it increases the likelihood of marrying spouses with very low levels of schooling.

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  • Fletcher, Jason M., 2018. "The effects of in utero exposure to the 1918 influenza pandemic on family formation," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 59-68.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:30:y:2018:i:c:p:59-68
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2018.06.004
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    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Consequences > Mortality
    2. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Consequences > Fertility

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    4. Jason M. Fletcher, 2019. "Environmental bottlenecks in children’s genetic potential for adult socio-economic attainments: Evidence from a health shock," Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 73(1), pages 139-148, January.
    5. Luqi Wang & Weibing Wang, 2021. "Temporal Trends in Notification and Mortality of Tuberculosis in China, 2004–2019: A Joinpoint and Age–Period–Cohort Analysis," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(11), pages 1-11, May.
    6. Sylvia Kirchengast & Beda Hartmann, 2021. "Pregnancy Outcome during the First COVID 19 Lockdown in Vienna, Austria," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(7), pages 1-14, April.
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    8. Clay, Karen & Lewis, Joshua & Severnini, Edson, 2019. "What explains cross-city variation in mortality during the 1918 influenza pandemic? Evidence from 438 U.S. cities," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 42-50.
    9. Boberg-Fazlic, Nina & Ivets, Maryna & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2021. "Disease and fertility: Evidence from the 1918–19 influenza pandemic in Sweden," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C).

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