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Childhood circumstances and adult outcomes: Evidence from World War II

  • Enkelejda Havari

    (Tor Vergata University)

  • Franco Peracchi

    (Tor Vergata University and EIEF)

This paper studies the effects of episodes of stress, poor health, financial hardship and hunger earlier in life on education and health in later life. As a source of identification, we exploit the huge temporal and regional variation of war-related events in Europe during the period from the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 to the end of World War II in 1945. We focus on the cohorts born between 1930 and 1954 in 13 European countries, and combine the available historical information with micro-level data from the Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which provides detailed retrospective information on life histories from childhood to adulthood for people born before 1955. Using these data we find that hunger episodes are more closely associated with war than any other hardship episode. Our instrumental variable estimates suggest that hunger in childhood or early adolescence has important negative effects on educational attainments and various measures of physical and mental health past age 50. They also suggest that suffering hunger for longer periods has stronger negative effects.

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File URL: http://www.eief.it/files/2012/09/wp-15-childhood-circumstances-and-adult-outcomes_evidence-from-world-war-ii.pdf
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Paper provided by Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) in its series EIEF Working Papers Series with number 1115.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision: Aug 2012
Handle: RePEc:eie:wpaper:1115
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  1. Kesternich, Iris & Siflinger, Bettina & Smith, James P. & Winter, Joachim K., 2012. "The Effects of World War II on Economic and Health Outcomes across Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 6296, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND briefs 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Ggens, Tue & Meng, Xin & Vaithianathan, Rhema, 2010. "Stunting and Selection Effects of Famine: A Case Study of the Great Chinese Famine," CEI Working Paper Series 2010-2, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  4. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
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  6. Daron Acemoglu & Tarek A. Hassan & James A. Robinson, 2011. "Social Structure and Development: A Legacy of the Holocaust in Russia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 895-946.
  7. Glewwe, Paul & Jacoby, Hanan G. & King, Elizabeth M., 2001. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement: a longitudinal analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 345-368, September.
  8. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Neelsen, Sven & Stratmann, Thomas, 2011. "Effects of prenatal and early life malnutrition: Evidence from the Greek famine," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 479-488, May.
  10. Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen & Marc Schramm, 2002. "The Strategic Bombing of German Cities during World War II and its Impact on City Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 808, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2006. "Making Famine History," Working Papers 200610, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  12. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  13. Sandra E Black & Paul J Devereux & Kjell G Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439, 02.
  14. Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2001. " Child Growth in the Time of Drought," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(4), pages 409-36, September.
  15. Gabriella Conti & James Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2010. "The Education-Health Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 234-38, May.
  16. Kelly Bedard & Olivier Desch�nes, 2006. "The Long-Term Impact of Military Service on Health: Evidence from World War II and Korean War Veterans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 176-194, March.
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