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Childhood Health Shocks, Comparative Advantage, and Long-Term Outcomes: Evidence from the Last Danish Polio Epidemic

Author

Listed:
  • Gensowski, Miriam

    () (University of Copenhagen)

  • Nielsen, Torben Heien

    () (University of Copenhagen)

  • Nielsen, Nete Munk

    () (Statens Serum Institut)

  • Rossin-Slater, Maya

    () (Stanford University)

  • Wüst, Miriam

    () (University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

A large literature documents that childhood health shocks have lasting negative consequences for adult outcomes. This paper demonstrates that the adversity of childhood physical disability can be mediated by individuals' educational and occupational choices, which reflect their comparative advantage. We merge records on children hospitalized with poliomyelitis during the 1952 Danish epidemic to census and administrative data, and exploit quasi-random variation in paralysis incidence. While childhood disability increases the likelihood of early retirement and disability pension receipt at age 50, paralytic polio survivors obtain higher education and are more likely to work in white-collar and computer-demanding jobs than their non-paralytic counterparts.

Suggested Citation

  • Gensowski, Miriam & Nielsen, Torben Heien & Nielsen, Nete Munk & Rossin-Slater, Maya & Wüst, Miriam, 2018. "Childhood Health Shocks, Comparative Advantage, and Long-Term Outcomes: Evidence from the Last Danish Polio Epidemic," IZA Discussion Papers 11630, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11630
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    Cited by:

    1. Serratos-Sotelo, L.;, 2019. "Were there long-term economic effects of exposure to Polio Vaccination?: An analysis of migrants to Sweden 1946-2003," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 19/19, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    comparative advantage; occupational sorting; childhood health shocks; long-term effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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