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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

    (KU Leuven)

  • Siflinger, Bettina M.

    (Tilburg University)

  • 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 M. & 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7713
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gerard J. van den 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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    12. 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. Huong Thu Le & Ha Trong Nguyen, 2015. "Intergenerational Transmission in Health: Causal estimates from fixed effects instrumental variables models for two cohorts of Australian children," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1509, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    2. Shouyu Yao & Zhuoqun Wang & Mengyue Sun & Jing Liao & Feiyang Cheng, 2020. "Top executives’ early‐life experience and financial disclosure quality: impact from the Great Chinese Famine," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 60(5), pages 4757-4793, December.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Hungry children age faster," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 211-220.
    6. Dragone, D. & Ziebarth, N.R., 2015. "Non-Separable Time Preferences and Novelty Consumption: Theory and Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/28, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    7. Iris Kesternich & James P. Smith & Joachim K. Winter & Maximiliane Hörl, 2020. "Early‐Life Circumstances Predict Measures of Trust among Adults: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post‐War Germany," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 122(1), pages 280-305, January.
    8. Reyn van Ewijk & Maarten Lindeboom, 2016. "Why people born during World War II are healthier," Working Papers 1619, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    9. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Kesternich, Iris & Siflinger, Bettina & Smith, James P. & Steckenleiter, Carina, 2020. "Unbalanced sex ratios in Germany caused by World War II and their effect on fertility: A life cycle perspective," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    income; health; war;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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