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The Intergenerational Health Effects of Forced Displacement: Japanese American Incarceration during WWII


  • Daniel S. Grossman
  • Umair Khalil
  • Laura Panza


We study the intergenerational health consequences of forced displacement and incarceration of Japanese Americans in the US during WWII. Incarcerated mothers had babies who were less healthy at birth. This decrease in health represents a shift in the entire birthweight distribution due to exposure to prison camps. Imprisoned individuals were less likely to have children with fathers of other ethnic groups but were more likely to receive prenatal care, invest in education, and participate in the labor market. To the extent human capital effects mitigate the full negative effects of incarceration on intergenerational health, our results are a lower bound.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel S. Grossman & Umair Khalil & Laura Panza, 2023. "The Intergenerational Health Effects of Forced Displacement: Japanese American Incarceration during WWII," NBER Working Papers 31992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:31992
    Note: EH

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    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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