Long-Run Longevity Effects of a Nutritional Shock Early in Life: The Dutch Potato Famine of 1846–1847
Background: Nutrition in utero and infancy may causally affect health and mortality at old ages. Until now, very few studies have demonstrated long-run effects on survival of early life nutrition, mainly because of data limitations and confounding issues. Methods: This paper investigates whether exposure to nutritional shocks in early life negatively affects longevity at older ages, using unique individual data and exploiting the exogenous variation implied by natural experiments. In particular, early nutritional conditions are instrumented by exposure to the potato famine of unprecedented severity that the Dutch faced in 1846-47. The individual data are from the Historical Sample of the Netherlands and are augmented by food price data and macro-economic data. The sample used in the study covers lifetimes of 398 individuals exposed and 1,342 individuals not exposed to severe famine during gestation and/or till age three. We compare non-parametrically the total and residual lifetimes of treated and controls per gender. We also estimate survival models in which we control for other individual characteristics and additional (early life) determinants of mortality. Results: Men exposed to severe famine during pregnancy (at least four months) and directly after birth have a significant lower residual life expectancy at age 50 than others, but not at earlier ages. We could not demonstrate any long-run effects for men exposed at ages 0-2 and for women. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first evidence suggesting long-run effects of early nutritional stresses on mortality at old ages for men.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2010, 29 (5), 617-629|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Meng, Xin & Qian, Nancy, 2006.
"The Long Run Health and Economic Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from China’s Great Famine,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2471, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Meng, Xin & Qian, Nancy, 2006. "The Long Run Health and Economic Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from China's Great Famine," CEPR Discussion Papers 5989, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3123. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.