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The relative importance of shocks in a cohort's early and later life conditions on age-specific mortality


  • Mikko Myrskylä

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


The relative importance of a cohort’s early life conditions, compared to later period conditions, on adult- and old-age mortality is not known. This paper studies how cohort-level mortality depends on shocks in the cohort’s early and later life (period) conditions. I use cohort’s own mortality as a proxy for the early life conditions, and define shocks as deviations from trend. Using historical data for five European countries I find that shocks in early life conditions are only weakly associated with cohort’s later mortality. This may be because individual-level health is robust to early life conditions, or because at the cohort-level scarring, selection and immunity cancel each other. Shocks in period conditions, measured as deviations from trend in period child mortality, are strongly and positively correlated with mortality at all older ages. The results suggest that at the cohort-level period conditions drive mortality change.

Suggested Citation

  • Mikko Myrskylä, 2010. "The relative importance of shocks in a cohort's early and later life conditions on age-specific mortality," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2010-009, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2010-009

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Adapting to Circumstances (The Evolution of Work, School,and Living Arrangements among North American Youth)," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 171-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Francesco C. Billari & Dimiter Philipov & Pau Baizán Munoz, 2001. "Leaving home in Europe: the experience of cohorts born around 1960," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Whitfield, Keith & Wilson, R A, 1991. "Staying on in Full-Time Education: The Education Participation Rate of 16-Year-Olds," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(231), pages 391-404, August.
    4. Frances Goldscheider & Julie DaVanzo, 1989. "Pathways to Independent Living in Early Adulthood: Marriage, Semiautonomy, and Premarital Residential Independence," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(4), pages 597-614, November.
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    More about this item


    Europe; mortality;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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