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From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health

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  • Douglas Almond
  • Janet Currie
  • Mariesa Herrmann

Abstract

This paper examines the links between the disease environment around the time of a woman's birth, and her health at the time she delivers her own infant. Our results suggest that exposure to disease in early childhood significantly increases the incidence of diabetes in the population of future mothers. The exposed mothers are less likely to be married, have fewer years of education, are more likely to gain over 60 pounds while pregnant, and are more likely to smoke while pregnant. Not surprisingly then, exposure increases the probability of low birth weight in the next generation, at least among whites. Among whites, this effect remains when we control for maternal behaviors as well as disease exposure. Among blacks, we find that maternal exposure reduces the incidence of low birth weight. The difference between whites and blacks may reflect a "scarring" vs. selection story; whites who go on to have children are negatively impacted, while blacks who go on to have children are positively selected having survived a higher early childhood mortality rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Mariesa Herrmann, 2011. "From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health," NBER Working Papers 17676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17676
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    Cited by:

    1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Pinger, Pia R., 2016. "Transgenerational effects of childhood conditions on third generation health and education outcomes," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 103-120.
    2. Samantha Rawlings, 2012. "Gender, race, and heterogeneous scarring and selection effects of epidemic malaria on human capital," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2012-01, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    3. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," NBER Working Papers 23017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Beach, Brian & Ferrie, Joseph & Saavedra, Martin & Troesken, Werner, 2016. "Typhoid Fever, Water Quality, and Human Capital Formation," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(01), pages 41-75, March.
    5. Mark E. McGovern, 2012. "Don't stress: early life conditions, hypertension and selection into associated risk factors," Working Papers 201223, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    6. Leah K. Lakdawala & David Simon, 2016. "The Intergenerational Consequences of Tobacco Policy," Working papers 2016-27, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    7. Akresh, Richard & Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Leone, Marinella & Osili, Una O., 2017. "First and Second Generation Impacts of the Biafran War," IZA Discussion Papers 10938, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Lawson, Nicholas & Spears, Dean, 2016. "What doesn't kill you makes you poorer: Adult wages and early-life mortality in India," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 1-16.
    9. Akresh, Richard & Caruso, German Daniel & Thirumurthy, Harsha, 2016. "Detailed Geographic Information, Conflict Exposure, and Health Impacts," IZA Discussion Papers 10330, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Andreella, Claudia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Westphal, Matthias, 2015. "The long shadows of past insults intergenerational transmission of health over 130 years," Ruhr Economic Papers 571, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    11. Chloe N. East & Sarah Miller & Marianne Page & Laura R. Wherry, 2017. "Multi-generational Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net: Early Life Exposure to Medicaid and the Next Generation’s Health," NBER Working Papers 23810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Jeffrey C. Schiman & Robert Kaestner & Anthony T. Lo Sasso, 2017. "Early Childhood Health Shocks and Adult Wellbeing: Evidence from Wartime Britain," NBER Working Papers 23763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Juan Felipe Brando & Rafael J. Santos, 2015. "La Niña y los niños: Effects of an Unexpected Winter on Early Life Human Capital and Family Responses," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 013316, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    14. repec:rdg:wpaper:em-dp2012-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Lillard, Dean R. & Burkhauser, Richard V. & Hahn, Markus H. & Wilkins, Roger, 2015. "Does early-life income inequality predict self-reported health in later life? Evidence from the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 347-355.
    16. Xiaobo Peng & Dalton Conley, 2016. "The implication of health insurance for child development and maternal nutrition: evidence from China," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(5), pages 521-534, June.
    17. Jorge M. Agüero & Maithili Ramachandran, 2016. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Schooling among the Education-Rationed," Working papers 2016-25, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    18. Buckles, Kasey, 2017. "Maternal Socio-Economic Status and the Well-Being of the Next Generation(s)," IZA Discussion Papers 10714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Enami, Ali, 2016. "The effect of In Utero Exposure to Asian Flu (1957-58) on future earnings," MPRA Paper 68673, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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