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Does in Utero Exposure to Illness Matter? The 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Taiwan as a Natural Experiment

  • Elaine Liu

    ()

    (University of Houston)

  • Ming-Jen Lin

    (National Taiwan University)

This paper uses the 1918 influenza pandemic in Taiwan as a natural experiment to test whether in utero conditions affect long run developmental outcomes. Combining several historical and contemporaneous datasets, we find that cohorts in utero during the pandemic are less educated, shorter as teenagers, and more likely to have kidney disease, glaucoma, respiratory problems and diabetes in old age than other birth cohorts. Despite the possible positive selection on health with the high infant mortality rates during this period (18%), our findings suggest a strong negative effect of in utero exposure to influenza.

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File URL: http://www.uh.edu/econpapers/RePEc/hou/wpaper/201310931.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Houston in its series Working Papers with number 201310931.

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Date of creation: 19 Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:hou:wpaper:201310931
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Web page: http://www.uh.edu/class/economics/

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