Long-run effects on longevity of a nutritional shock early in life: The Dutch Potato famine of 1846-1847
Nutritional conditions in utero and during infancy may causally affect health and mortality during childhood, adulthood, and at old ages. This paper investigates whether exposure to a nutritional shock in early life negatively affects survival at older ages, using individual data. Nutritional conditions are captured by exposure to the Potato famine in the Netherlands in 1846-1847, and by regional and temporal variation in market prices of potato and rye. The data cover the lifetimes of a random sample of Dutch individuals born between 1812 and 1902 and provide individual information on life events and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. First we non-parametrically compare the total and residual lifetimes of individuals exposed and not exposed to the famine in utero and/or until age 1. Next, we estimate survival models in which we control for individual characteristics and additional (early life) determinants of mortality. We find strong evidence for long-run effects of exposure to the Potato famine. The results are stronger for boys than for girls. Boys and girls lose on average 4, respectively 2.5 years of life after age 50 after exposure at birth to the Potato famine. Lower social classes appear to be more affected by early life exposure to the Potato famine than higher social classes. These results confirm the mechanism linking early life (nutritional) conditions to old-age mortality. Finally, higher food prices at birth appear to reduce later life mortality of children of farmers from higher social classes. We interpret this as an income effect.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2006. "Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 290-302, March.
- Cormac Ó Gráda, 2006.
"Making famine history,"
200610, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
- Karen Clay & Werner Troesken, 2006. "Deprivation and Disease in Early Twentieth-Century America," NBER Working Papers 12111, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Wintle,Michael, 2000. "An Economic and Social History of the Netherlands, 1800â€“1920," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521782951, December.
- Jacobs, Jan & Tassenaar, Vincent, 2004.
"Height, income, and nutrition in the Netherlands: the second half of the 19th century,"
Economics & Human Biology,
Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 181-195, June.
- Jacobs, Jan & Tassenaar, Vincent, 2003. "Height, income, and nutrition in the Netherlands: the second half of the 19th century," Research Report 03C35, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
- Fogel,Robert William, 2004.
"The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700â€“2100,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521808781, December.
- Fogel,Robert William, 2004. "The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700â€“2100," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521004886, December.
- Meng, Xin & Qian, Nancy, 2006.
"The Long Run Health and Economic Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from China's Great Famine,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5989, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Meng, Xin & Qian, Nancy, 2006. "The Long Run Health and Economic Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from China’s Great Famine," IZA Discussion Papers 2471, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Costa, Dora L., 2003.
"Understanding mid-life and older age mortality declines: evidence from Union Army veterans,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 175-192, January.
- Dora L. Costa, 2000. "Understanding Mid-Life and Older Age Mortality Declines: Evidence from Union Army Veterans," NBER Working Papers 8000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2008.
"Adult height and childhood disease,"
1119, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
- Jan Luiten van Zanden & Arthur van Riel, 2004. "Introduction to The Strictures of Inheritance: The Dutch Economy in the Nineteenth Century," Introductory Chapters, in: The Strictures of Inheritance: The Dutch Economy in the Nineteenth Century Princeton University Press.
- Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:617-629. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.