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Is the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Over? Long-Term Effects of In Utero Influenza Exposure in the Post-1940 U.S. Population

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  • In Utero
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    This paper uses the 1918 influenza pandemic as a natural experiment for testing the fetal origins hypothesis. The pandemic arrived unexpectedly in the fall of 1918 and had largely subsided by January 1919, generating sharp predictions for long-term effects. Data from the 1960–80 decennial U.S. Census indicate that cohorts in utero during the pandemic displayed reduced educational attainment, increased rates of physical disability, lower income, lower socioeconomic status, and higher transfer payments compared with other birth cohorts. These results indicate that investments in fetal health can increase human capital.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/507154
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    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

    Volume (Year): 114 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 672-712

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:114:y:2006:i:4:p:672-712
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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    4. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
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    8. Andrew Noymer & Michel Garenne, 2000. "The 1918 Influenza Epidemic's Effects on Sex Differentials in Mortality in the United States," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(3), pages 565-581.
    9. Dora L. Costa & Joanna N. Lahey, 2005. "Predicting Older Age Mortality Trends," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 487-493, 04/05.
    10. Brainerd, Elizabeth & Siegler, Mark V, 2003. "The Economic Effects of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic," CEPR Discussion Papers 3791, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2002. "Were Compulsory Attendance and Child Labor Laws Effective? An Analysis from 1915 to 1939," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 401-435, October.
    12. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
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    14. Melissa A. Thomasson & Jaret Treber, 2004. "From Home to Hospital: The Evolution of Childbirth in the United States, 1927-1940," NBER Working Papers 10873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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