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Wealth, Health, and Child Development: Evidence from Administrative Data on Swedish Lottery Players

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  • David Cesarini
  • Erik Lindqvist
  • Robert Östling
  • Björn Wallace

Abstract

We use administrative data on Swedish lottery players to estimate the causal impact of substantial wealth shocks on players’ own health and their children’s health and developmental outcomes. Our estimation sample is large, virtually free of attrition, and allows us to control for the factors conditional on which the prizes were randomly assigned. In adults, we find no evidence that wealth impacts mortality or health care utilization, with the possible exception of a small reduction in the consumption of mental health drugs. Our estimates allow us to rule out effects on 10-year mortality one sixth as large as the cross-sectional wealth-mortality gradient. In our intergenerational analyses, we find that wealth increases children’s health care utilization in the years following the lottery and may also reduce obesity risk. The effects on most other child outcomes, including drug consumption, scholastic performance, and skills, can usually be bounded to a tight interval around zero. Overall, our findings suggest that in affluent countries with extensive social safety nets, causal effects of wealth are not a major source of the wealth-mortality gradients, nor of the observed relationships between child developmental outcomes and household income. JEL Codes: I10, I14, J24.

Suggested Citation

  • David Cesarini & Erik Lindqvist & Robert Östling & Björn Wallace, 2016. "Wealth, Health, and Child Development: Evidence from Administrative Data on Swedish Lottery Players," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(2), pages 687-738.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:131:y:2016:i:2:p:687-738.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjw001
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    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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