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Economic Conditions at Birth, Birth Weight, Ability, and the Causal Path to Cardiovascular Mortality

Author

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  • van den Berg, Gerard J.

    () (University of Bristol)

  • Modin, Bitte

    () (Centre for Health Equity Studies - CHESS)

Abstract

We analyze interaction effects of birth weight and the business cycle at birth on individual cardiovascular (CV) mortality later in life. In addition, we examine to what extent these long-run effects run by way of cognitive ability and education and to what extent those mitigate the long-run effects. We use individual records of Swedish birth cohorts from 1915–1929 covering birth weight, family characteristics, school grades, sibling identifiers, and outcomes later in life including the death cause. The birth weight distribution does not vary over the business cycle. The association between birth weight (across the full range) and CV mortality rate later in life is significantly stronger if the individual is born in a recession. This is not explained by differential fertility by social class over the cycle. Ability itself, as measured at age 10, varies with birth weight and the cycle at birth. But the long-run effects of early-life conditions appear to mostly reflect direct biological mechanisms. We do not find evidence of indirect pathways through ability or education, and the long-run effects are not mitigated by education.

Suggested Citation

  • van den Berg, Gerard J. & Modin, Bitte, 2013. "Economic Conditions at Birth, Birth Weight, Ability, and the Causal Path to Cardiovascular Mortality," IZA Discussion Papers 7605, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7605
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rajeev Dehejia & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2004. "Booms, Busts, and Babies' Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1091-1130.
    2. 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.
    3. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lundborg, Petter & Nystedt, Paul & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2009. "Critical Periods During Childhood and Adolescence: A Study of Adult Height Among Immigrant Siblings," IZA Discussion Papers 4140, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    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.
    5. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2007. "Biology as Destiny? Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Intergenerational Transmission of Birth Weight," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 231-264.
    6. Ridder, Geert & Tunali, Insan, 1999. "Stratified partial likelihood estimation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 193-232, October.
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    8. Narayan Sastry, 2004. "Trends in socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in developing countries: The case of child Survival in São Paulo, Brazil," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(3), pages 443-464, August.
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    10. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083.
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    12. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-172, Summer.
    13. Hart, C. L. & Taylor, M. D. & Smith, G. Davey & Whalley, L. J. & Starr, J. M. & Hole, D. J. & Wilson, V. & Deary, I. J., 2004. "Childhood IQ and cardiovascular disease in adulthood: prospective observational study linking the Scottish Mental Survey 1932 and the Midspan studies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(10), pages 2131-2138, November.
    14. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Gupta, Sumedha, 2015. "The role of marriage in the causal pathway from economic conditions early in life to mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 141-158.
    15. Robert Kaestner & Won Chan Lee, 2005. "The effect of welfare reform on prenatal care and birth weight," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 497-511.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bhalotra, Sonia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions. Evidence from A Historical Trial," Ruhr Economic Papers 504, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Alessie, R.; Angelini, V.; Mierau, J.O.; Viluma, L.;, 2017. "Economic Downturns and Babies’ Health," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. Ainhoa Aparicio & Libertad González Luna, 2013. "Newborn health and the business cycle: Is it good to be born in bad times?," Economics Working Papers 1374, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2014.
    4. repec:zbw:rwirep:0504 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Janys, Lena & Mammen, Enno & Nielsen, Jens P., 2014. "A General Semiparametric Approach to Inference with Marker-Dependent Hazard Rate Models," IZA Discussion Papers 8339, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Janys, Lena, 2017. "A General Semiparametric Approach to Inference with Marker-Dependent Hazard Rate Models," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168077, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2015. "Infant Health and Longevity: Evidence from a Historical Trial in Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 8969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Ainhoa Aparicio, 2014. "Newborn Health and the Business Cycle," CINCH Working Paper Series 1402, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
    9. Sonia Bhalotra & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions. Evidence from A Historical Trial," Ruhr Economic Papers 0504, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Bruckner, Tim A. & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Smith, Kirk R. & Catalano, Ralph A., 2014. "Ambient temperature during gestation and cold-related adult mortality in a Swedish cohort, 1915–2002," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 191-197.
    11. Alessie, Rob & Angelini, Viola & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Mierau, Jochen O. & Viluma, Laura, 2017. "Economic Conditions at Birth and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Adulthood: Evidence from New Cohorts," IZA Discussion Papers 10810, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    longevity; genetic determinants; health; business cycle; life expectancy; cardiovascular disease; school grades; siblings; fetal programming; cause of death; life course; developmental origins; nature and nurture; cognitive ability; education; stratified partial likelihood; recession;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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