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The Lasting Legacy of Seasonal Influenza: In-utero Exposure and Labor Market Outcomes

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  • Schwandt, Hannes

    () (Department of Business and Economics, and COHERE)

Abstract

Pregnancy conditions have been shown to matter for later economic success, but many threats to fetal development that have been identified are difficult to prevent. In this paper I study seasonal influenza, a preventable illness that comes around every year and causes strong inflammatory responses in pregnant women. Using administrative data from Denmark, I identify the effects of maternal influenza on the exposed offspring via sibling comparison, exploiting both society-wide influenza spread and information on individual mothers who suffer strong infections during pregnancy. In the short term, maternal influenza leads to a doubling of prematurity and low birth weight, by triggering premature labor among women infected in the third trimester. Following exposed offspring into young adulthood, I observe a 9% earnings reduction and a 35% increase in welfare dependence. These long-term effects are strongest for influenza infections during the second trimester and they are partly explained by a decline in educational attainment, pointing to cognitive impairment. This effect pattern suggests that maternal influenza damages the fetus through multiple mechanisms, and much of the damage may not be visible at birth. Taken together, these results provide evidence that strong infections during pregnancy are an often overlooked prenatal threat with long-term consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Schwandt, Hannes, 2017. "The Lasting Legacy of Seasonal Influenza: In-utero Exposure and Labor Market Outcomes," DaCHE discussion papers 2017:5, University of Southern Denmark, Dache - Danish Centre for Health Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sduhec:2017_005
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    1. What evidence exists that a child’s health is a form of human capital?
      by Jason Shafrin in Healthcare Economist on 2020-03-19 06:54:25

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    Cited by:

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    2. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2018. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1360-1446, December.
    3. Martin Andersen & Sylvia Bryan & David Slusky, 2020. "COVID-19 Surgical Abortion Restriction Did Not Reduce Visits to Abortion Clinics," NBER Working Papers 28058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Schwandt, Hannes & Wuppermann, Amelie, 2015. "The Youngest Get the Pill: ADHD Misdiagnosis and the Production of Education in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 9368, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Viviane Sanfelice, 2020. "Mosquito-Borne Disease and Newborn Health," DETU Working Papers 2001, Department of Economics, Temple University.
    6. Corey White, 2018. "Measuring the Social and Externality Benefits of Influenza Vaccination," Working Papers 1803, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
    7. Pichler, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "The pros and cons of sick pay schemes: Testing for contagious presenteeism and noncontagious absenteeism behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 14-33.
    8. Slusky, David J.G. & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2021. "Sunlight and Protection Against Influenza," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C).
    9. Ray, Mukesh K. & Maredia, Mywish K., 2018. "Legume Technologies as a Sustainable Solution to Climatic Shocks: Evidence from Malawi," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 273873, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Fabian Duarte & Srikanth Kadiyala & Samuel H. Masters & David Powell, 2017. "The Effect of the 2009 Influenza Pandemic on Absence from Work," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(12), pages 1682-1695, December.
    11. Pichler, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2019. "Reprint of: The pros and cons of sick pay schemes: Testing for contagious presenteeism and noncontagious absenteeism behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 86-104.
    12. Rosales-Rueda, Maria, 2018. "The impact of early life shocks on human capital formation: evidence from El Niño floods in Ecuador," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 13-44.
    13. Michael Allan Ribers & Hannes Ullrich, 2019. "Battling antibiotic resistance: can machine learning improve prescribing?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7654, CESifo.
    14. Møllegaard, Stine, 2020. "The effect of birth weight on behavioral problems in early adolescence: New evidence from monozygotic twins," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).
    15. Conway, Karen Smith & Trudeau, Jennifer, 2019. "Sunshine, fertility and racial disparities," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 18-39.
    16. Duncan, Brian & Mansour, Hani & Rees, Daniel I., 2015. "Prenatal Stress and Low Birth Weight: Evidence from the Super Bowl," IZA Discussion Papers 9053, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Krzysztof Karbownik & Anthony Wray, 2019. "Educational, Labor-market and Intergenerational Consequences of Poor Childhood Health," NBER Working Papers 26368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fetal origins; seasonal influenza; labor market outcomes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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