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The Role of Early-Life Conditions in the Cognitive Decline due to Adverse Events Later in Life

  • van den Berg, Gerard J.

    ()

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Deeg, Dorly J. H.

    ()

    (VU University Amsterdam)

  • Lindeboom, Maarten

    ()

    (VU University Amsterdam)

  • Portrait, France

    ()

    (VU University Amsterdam)

Cognitive functioning of elderly individuals may be affected by events such as the loss of a (grand)child or partner or the onset of a serious chronic condition, and by negative economic shocks such as job loss or the reduction of pension benefits. It is conceivable that the impact of such events is stronger if conditions early in life were adverse. In this paper we address this using a Dutch longitudinal database that follows elderly individuals for more than 15 years and contains information on demographics, socio-economic conditions, life events, health, and cognitive functioning. We exploit exogenous variation in early-life conditions as generated by the business cycle. We also examine to what extent the cumulative effect of consecutive shocks later in life exceeds the sum of the separate effects, and whether economic and health shocks later in life reinforce each other in their effect on cognitive functioning.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4780.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4780
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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2006. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19425, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. James Banks & Cormac O'Dea & Zoë Oldfield, 2010. "Cognitive Function, Numeracy and Retirement Saving Trajectories," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages F381-F410, November.
  3. Christelis, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2010. "Cognitive abilities and portfolio choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 18-38, January.
  4. 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.
  5. Gerard J. van den Berg & Gabriele Doblhammer-Reiter & Kaare Christensen, 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," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2008-023, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  6. Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2002. "An econometric analysis of the mental-health effects of major events in the life of older individuals," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 505-520.
  7. James Banks & Zoë Oldfield, 2006. "Understanding pensions: cognitive function, numerical ability and retirement saving," IFS Working Papers W06/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
  9. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2009. "Early Life Health and Cognitive Function in Old Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 104-09, May.
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