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Infant Health, Cognitive Performance and Earnings: Evidence from Inception of the Welfare State in Sweden

Author

Listed:
  • Bhalotra, Sonia

    (University of Essex)

  • Karlsson, Martin

    (University of Duisburg-Essen)

  • Nilsson, Therese

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Schwarz, Nina

    (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Abstract

We estimate impacts of exposure to an infant health intervention trialled in Sweden in the early 1930s using purposively digitised birth registers linked to school catalogues, census fies and tax records to generate longitudinal microdata that track individuals through fie stages of the life-course, from birth to age 71. This allows us to measure impacts on childhood health and cognitive skills at ages 7 and 10, educational and occupational choice at age 16-20, employment, earnings and occupation at age 36-40, and pension income at age 71.Leveraging quasi-random variation in eligibility by birth date and birth parish, we estimate that an additional year of exposure was associated with improved reading and writing skills in primary school, and increased enrolment in university and apprenticeship in late adolescence. These changes are larger and more robust for men, but we find increases in secondary school completion which are unique to women. In the longer run, we find very substantial increases in employment (especially in the public sector) and income among women, alongside absolutely no impacts among men. We suggest that this may be, at least in part, because these cohorts were exposed to a massive expansion of the Swedish welfare state, which created more jobs for women than for men.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhalotra, Sonia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Schwarz, Nina, 2017. "Infant Health, Cognitive Performance and Earnings: Evidence from Inception of the Welfare State in Sweden," Working Paper Series 1177, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:1177
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    2. Bhalotra, Sonia & Clarke, Damian & Mühlrad, Hanna & Palme, Mårten, 2021. "Health and Labor Market Impacts of Twin Birth : Evidence from a Swedish IVF Policy Mandate," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1391, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    3. Norman Bannenberg & Oddvar Førland & Tor Iversen & Martin Karlsson & Henning Øien, 2021. "Preventive Home Visits," American Journal of Health Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 457-496.
    4. Martin Fischer & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson & Nina Schwarz, 2020. "The Long-Term Effects of Long Terms – Compulsory Schooling Reforms in Sweden," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(6), pages 2776-2823.
    5. Sonia Bhalotra & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson & Nina Schwarz, 2022. "Infant Health, Cognitive Performance, and Earnings: Evidence from Inception of the Welfare State in Sweden," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1138-1156, November.
    6. Serratos-Sotelo, Luis & Bengtsson, Tommy & Nilsson, Anton, 2019. "The long-term economic effects of polio: Evidence from the introduction of the polio vaccine to Sweden in 1957," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 32-41.
    7. Martin Fischer & Ulf-G Gerdtham & Gawain Heckley & Martin Karlsson & Gustav Kjellsson & Therese Nilsson, 2021. "Education and health: long-run effects of peers, tracking and years," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 36(105), pages 3-49.
    8. Huang, Wei & Liu, Hong, 2023. "Early childhood exposure to health insurance and adolescent outcomes: Evidence from rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C).
    9. Sonia Bhalotra & Damian Clarke & Joseph F. Gomes & Atheendar Venkataramani, 2021. "Maternal Mortality and Women’s Political Power," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2021010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    10. Fischer, Martin & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Schwarz, Nina, 2016. "The Sooner the Better? Compulsory Schooling Reforms in Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 10430, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Heckley, Gawain & Fischer , Martin & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Karlsson , Martin & Kjellsson, Gustav & Nilsson, Therese, 2018. "The Long-Term Impact of Education on Mortality and Health: Evidence from Sweden," Working Papers 2018:8, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    12. Sonia Bhalotra & Damian Clarke & Joseph Gomes & Atheendar Venkataramani, 2018. "Maternal mortality and women's political participation," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-58, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Hübler, Olaf, 2017. "Health and weight – gender-specific linkages under heterogeneity, interdependence and resilience factors," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 96-111.

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    Keywords

    Infant health; Early life interventions; Cognitive skills; Education; Earnings; Occupational choice; Programme evaluation; Sweden;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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