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Childhood circumstances and adult outcomes: Evidence from World War II

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  • Enkelejda Havari

    (Tor Vergata University)

  • Franco Peracchi

    (Tor Vergata University and EIEF)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Enkelejda Havari & Franco Peracchi, 2011. "Childhood circumstances and adult outcomes: Evidence from World War II," EIEF Working Papers Series 1115, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Aug 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:eie:wpaper:1115
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicole Halmdienst & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2013. "Long-Run Effects of Childhood Shocks on Health in Late Adulthood: Evidence from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe," Economics working papers 2013-02, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. Kesternich, Iris & Siflinger, Bettina M. & Smith, James P. & Winter, Joachim K., 2013. "Individual Behavior as a Pathway between Early-Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post-War Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 7713, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Mark E. McGovern, 2012. "Don't stress: early life conditions, hypertension and selection into associated risk factors," Working Papers 201223, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    4. Gerard J. van den Berg & Pia R. Pinger & Johannes Schoch, 2016. "Instrumental Variable Estimation of the Causal Effect of Hunger Early in Life on Health Later in Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(591), pages 465-506, March.
    5. Havari, Enkelejda & Peracchi, Franco, 2017. "Growing up in wartime: Evidence from the era of two world wars," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 9-32.
    6. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Brandt, Martina & Schröder, Mathis, 2013. "SHARELIFE - One Century of Life Histories in Europe," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1-4.
    7. Angelini, V. & Mierau, J.O., 2012. "Social and economic aspects of childhood health," Research Report 12002-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    8. Thomas Leoni & Rainer Eppel, 2013. "Women's Work and Family Profiles over the Lifecourse and their Subsequent Health Outcomes Evidence for Europe. WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 28," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 46889.
    9. Havari, Enkelejda & Peracchi, Franco, 2019. "The intergenerational transmission of education. Evidence from the World War II cohorts in Europe," Working Papers 2019-04, Joint Research Centre, European Commission (Ispra site).

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