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Individual Behavior as a Pathway between Early-Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post-War Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Kesternich, Iris

    () (University of Munich)

  • Siflinger, Bettina

    () (University of Mannheim)

  • Smith, James P.

    () (RAND)

  • Winter, Joachim K.

    () (University of Munich)

Abstract

We investigate long-run effects of episodes of hunger experienced as a child on health status and behavioral outcomes in later life. We combine self-reported data on hunger experiences from SHARELIFE, a retrospective survey conducted as part of SHARE in Europe in 2009, with administrative data on food supply (caloric rations) in post-war Germany. The data suggest that individual behavior is a pathway between early life shocks and adult health: We find that those who experienced hunger spend a larger fraction of income on food. Taken together, our results confirm that in addition to the well-documented biological channel from early life circumstances to adult health, there is also a behavioral pathway.

Suggested Citation

  • Kesternich, Iris & Siflinger, Bettina & Smith, James P. & Winter, Joachim K., 2013. "Individual Behavior as a Pathway between Early-Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post-War Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 7713, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7713
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gerard J. Berg & Pia R. Pinger & Johannes Schoch, 2016. "Instrumental Variable Estimation of the Causal Effect of Hunger Early in Life on Health Later in Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(591), pages 465-506, March.
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    6. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    7. Enkelejda Havari & Franco Peracchi, 2011. "Childhood circumstances and adult outcomes: Evidence from World War II," EIEF Working Papers Series 1115, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Aug 2012.
    8. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
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    13. Iris Kesternich & Bettina Siflinger & James P. Smith & Joachim K. Winter, 2014. "The Effects of World War II on Economic and Health Outcomes across Europe," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 103-118, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2015. "Economic Development, Novelty Consumption, and Body Weight: Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," IZA Discussion Papers 8967, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Bertoni, Marco, 2015. "Hungry today, unhappy tomorrow? Childhood hunger and subjective wellbeing later in life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 40-53.
    3. Ilke Onur & Malathi Velamuri, 2016. "A Life Course Perspective on Gender Differences in Cognitive Functioning in India," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 520-563.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income; health; war;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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