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The Long-term Health Effects of Mass Political Violence: Evidence From China’s Cultural Revolution

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  • Asadul Islam
  • Paul A. Raschky
  • Russell Smyth

Abstract

There is much interest in the causes of several adverse health outcomes in middle and old age. In searching for new explanations for adverse health outcomes later in life, researchers have started to look beyond behavioural risk factors to examine the effect of shocks to health in utero and in childhood on health in old age. In this paper we extend this literature to examine the long-term health effects of mass political violence experienced in utero and in childhood using China’s Cultural Revolution as a natural experiment. We find that individuals who were in utero in the Cultural Revolution have reduced lung capacity later in life, but we find no evidence that being in utero has adverse effects on other health indicators later in life. We find more evidence that being an adolescent in the Cultural Revolution has an adverse effect on health later in life. Specifically, we find that individuals who were adolescents in the Cultural Revolution have higher blood pressure and reduced ability to engage in activities of daily living later in life. We also find that males who were adolescents in the Cultural Revolution have reduced cognitive skills later in life, while females who were adolescents in the Cultural Revolution have reduced lung capacity in middle and old age. specific recommendations for the Canadian context.

Suggested Citation

  • Asadul Islam & Paul A. Raschky & Russell Smyth, 2011. "The Long-term Health Effects of Mass Political Violence: Evidence From China’s Cultural Revolution," Monash Economics Working Papers 32-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2011-32
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    File URL: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/research/papers/2011/3211longtermhealthislamraschkysmyth.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Idiosyncratic Shocks; Cultural Revolution; Long-term effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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