Examining The Long Term Mortality Effects Of Early Health Shocks
A growing literature in economics and other disciplines has tied exposure to early health shocks, particularly in utero influenza, to reductions in a variety of socioeconomic and health outcomes over the life course. However, no current evidence exists that examines this health shock on mortality because of lack of available data. This paper uses newly released files from the large, representative National Longitudinal Mortality Study to explore the mortality effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic for those in utero. While the results on socioeconomic outcomes mimic those in the literature, showing reductions in completed schooling and income fifty years following influenza exposure, the findings also suggest no effect on overall mortality or by categories of cause-of-death. These results are counter-intuitive in their contrast with the many reported effects on cardiovascular health as well as the literature linking education with later mortality
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