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Does grief transfer across generations? In-utero deaths and child outcomes

  • Black, Sandra E.

    ()

    (University of Texas)

  • Devereux, Paul J.

    ()

    (University College Dublin)

  • Salvanes, Kjell G.

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

While much is now known about the effects of physical health shocks to pregnant women on the outcomes of the in-utero child, we know little about the effects of psychological stresses. One clear form of stress to the mother comes from the death of a parent. We examine the effects of the death of the mother’s parent during pregnancy on both the short-run and the long-run outcomes of the infant. Our primary specification involves using mother fixed effects— comparing the outcomes of two children with the same mother but where a parent of the mother died during one of the pregnancies—augmented with a control for whether there is a death around the time of the pregnancy in order to isolate true causal effects of a bereavement during pregnancy. We find small negative effects on birth outcomes, and these effects are bigger for boys than for girls. The effects on birth outcomes seems to be driven by deaths due to cardiovascular causes suggesting that sudden deaths are more difficult to deal with. However, we find no evidence of adverse effects on adult outcomes. The results are robust to alternative specifications.

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File URL: http://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/196938/1/workingpaper.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 23/2014.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 30 Jun 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2014_023
Contact details of provider: Postal: NHH, Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
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Fax: 5595 9100
Web page: http://www.nhh.no/sam/
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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2006. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," CEE Discussion Papers 0061, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  2. Janet Currie & Matthew J. Neidell & Johannes Schmieder, 2008. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: Lessons from New Jersey," NBER Working Papers 14196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Janet Currie & Maya Rossin-Slater, 2012. "Weathering the Storm: Hurricanes and Birth Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 18070, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Aline Bütikofer & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2013. "This Is Only a Test? Long-Run Impacts of Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout," NBER Working Papers 18987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang, 2007. "Long-Term Effects Of The 1959-1961 China Famine: Mainland China and Hong Kong," NBER Working Papers 13384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:dgr:uvatin:20120013 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Florencia Torche, 2011. "The Effect of Maternal Stress on Birth Outcomes: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1473-1491, November.
  8. S. Scholte, Robert & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten, 2012. "Long-run effects of gestation during the Dutch hunger winter famine on labor market and hospitalization outcomes," Working Paper Series 2012:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  9. Tara Watson & Angela Fertig, 2008. "Minimum Drinking Age Laws and Infant Health Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 14118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Anna Aizer & Laura Stroud & Stephen Buka, 2012. "Maternal Stress and Child Outcomes: Evidence from Siblings," NBER Working Papers 18422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. repec:dgr:uvatin:2012013 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 1-22, May.
  13. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Marten Palme, 2007. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," Discussion Papers 0607-19, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  14. Diane Lauderdale, 2006. "Birth outcomes for Arabic-named women in California before and after September 11," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 185-201, February.
  15. Emilia Simeonova, 2011. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Natural Disasters and Pregnancy Outcomes in the USA," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(3), pages 403-431, September.
  16. Elaine Kelly, 2011. "The Scourge of Asian Flu: In utero Exposure to Pandemic Influenza and the Development of a Cohort of British Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(4), pages 669-694.
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