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Being Born Under Adverse Economic Conditions Leads to a Higher Cardiovascular Mortality Rate Later in Life: Evidence Based on Individuals Born at Different Stages of the Business Cycle

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  • van den Berg, Gerard J.

    () (University of Bristol)

  • Doblhammer, Gabriele

    () (University of Rostock)

  • Christensen, Kaare

    () (University of Southern Denmark)

Abstract

We connect the recent medical and economic literatures on the long-run effects of early-life conditions, by analyzing the effects of economic conditions on the individual cardiovascular (CV) mortality rate later in life, using individual data records from the Danish Twin Registry covering births since the 1870s and including the cause of death. To capture exogenous variation of conditions early in life we use the state of the business cycle around birth. We find a significant negative effect of economic conditions early in life on the individual CV mortality rate at higher ages. There is no effect on the cancer-specific mortality rate. From variation within and between monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs born under different conditions we conclude that the fate of an individual is more strongly determined by genetic and household-environmental factors if early-life conditions are poor. Individual-specific qualities come more to fruition if the starting position in life is better.

Suggested Citation

  • van den Berg, Gerard J. & Doblhammer, Gabriele & Christensen, Kaare, 2008. "Being Born Under Adverse Economic Conditions Leads to a Higher Cardiovascular Mortality Rate Later in Life: Evidence Based on Individuals Born at Different Stages of the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 3635, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3635
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2006. "Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 290-302, March.
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    3. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    4. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten & Lopez, Marta, 2009. "Inequality in individual mortality and economic conditions earlier in life," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1360-1367, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cancer; cardiovascular disease; life expectancy; recession; health; genetic determinants; longevity; lifetimes; fetal programming; cause of death; developmental origins;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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