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Parental Influences on Health and Longevity: Lessons from a Large Sample of Adoptees

Author

Listed:
  • Lindahl, Mikael

    () (University of Gothenburg)

  • Björkegren, Evelina

    () (Uppsala University)

  • Palme, Mårten

    () (Stockholm University)

  • Simeonova, Emilia

    () (Johns Hopkins University)

Abstract

To what extent is the length of our lives determined by pre-birth factors? And to what extent is it affected by parental resources during our upbringing that can be influenced by public policy? We study the formation of adult health and mortality using data on about 21,000 adoptees born between 1940 and 1967. The data include detailed information on both biological and adopting parents. We find that the health of the biological parents affects the health of their adopted children. Thus, we confirm that genes and conditions in utero are important intergenerational transmission channels for long-term health. However, we also find strong evidence that the educational attainment of the adopting mother has a significant impact on the health of her adoptive children, suggesting that family environment and resources in the post-birth years have long-term consequences for children's health.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindahl, Mikael & Björkegren, Evelina & Palme, Mårten & Simeonova, Emilia, 2016. "Parental Influences on Health and Longevity: Lessons from a Large Sample of Adoptees," IZA Discussion Papers 9688, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9688
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 113-158, March.
    2. Anders Björklund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2006. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 999-1028.
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    8. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2004. "Intergenerational Effects in Sweden: What Can We Learn from Adoption Data?," IZA Discussion Papers 1194, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Petter Lundborg & Martin Nordin & Dan Olof Rooth, 2018. "The intergenerational transmission of human capital: the role of skills and health," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(4), pages 1035-1065, October.
    2. Maria Zumbuehl & Thomas Dohmen & Gerard Pfann, 2018. "Parental Involvement and the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Preferences and Attitudes," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2018_022, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    3. Maria Zumbuehl & Thomas Dohmen & Gerard Pfann, 2020. "Parental Involvement and the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Preferences, Attitude and Personality Traits," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 027, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    4. Hübler, Olaf, 2017. "Health and weight – gender-specific linkages under heterogeneity, interdependence and resilience factors," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 96-111.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    health inequality; mortality; pre- versus post-birth decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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