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Child mortality, income and adult height

Author

Listed:
  • Carlos Bozzoli

    (Princeton University)

  • Angus Deaton

    (Princeton University)

  • Climent Quintana-Domeque

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

We investigate the childhood determinants of adult height in populations, focusing on the respective roles of income and of disease. We develop a model of selection and scarring, in which the early life burden of nutrition and disease is not only responsible for mortality in childhood but also leaves a residue of long-term health risks for survivors, risks that express themselves in adult height, as well as in late-life disease. Across a range of European countries and the United States, we find a strong inverse relationship between post-neonatal (one month to one year) mortality, interpreted as a measure of the disease and nutritional burden in childhood, and the mean height of those children as adults. In pooled birth-cohort data over 30 years for the United States and eleven European countries, post-neonatal mortality in the year of birth accounts for more than 60 percent of the combined cross-country and cross-cohort variation in adult heights. The estimated effects are smaller but remain significant once we allow for country and birth-cohort effects. In the poorest and highest mortality countries of the world, there is evidence that child mortality is positively associated with adult height. That selection should dominate scarring at high mortality levels, and scarring dominate selection at low mortality levels, is consistent with the model for reasonable values of its parameters.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2007. "Child mortality, income and adult height," Working Papers 230, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:cheawb:56
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    Cited by:

    1. Bhalotra, Sonia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions. Evidence from A Historical Trial," Ruhr Economic Papers 504, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Angus Deaton & Jean Dreze, 2008. "Nutrition in India: Facts and Interpretations," Working Papers 1071, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    3. Sonia Bhalotra & Samantha Rawlings, 2013. "Gradients of the Intergenerational Transmission of Health in Developing Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 660-672, May.
    4. van Kippersluis, Hans & Van Ourti, Tom & O'Donnell, Owen & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2009. "Health and income across the life cycle and generations in Europe," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 818-830, July.
    5. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
    6. Timothy J. Hatton, 2014. "How have Europeans grown so tall?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 349-372.
    7. Gørgens, Tue & Meng, Xin & Vaithianathan, Rhema, 2012. "Stunting and selection effects of famine: A case study of the Great Chinese Famine," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 99-111.
    8. Timothy J. Hatton & Richard M. Martin, 2010. "The effects on stature of poverty, family size, and birth order: British children in the 1930s," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(1), pages 157-184, January.
    9. 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.
    10. Frijters, Paul & Hatton, Timothy J. & Martin, Richard M. & Shields, Michael A., 2010. "Childhood economic conditions and length of life: Evidence from the UK Boyd Orr cohort, 1937-2005," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 39-47, January.
    11. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-70 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Noymer, Andrew, 2009. "Testing the influenza-tuberculosis selective mortality hypothesis with Union Army data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(9), pages 1599-1608, May.
    13. Sonia Bhalotra & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions. Evidence from A Historical Trial," Ruhr Economic Papers 0504, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    14. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2012. "Costly posturing: relative status, ceremonies and early child development in China:," IFPRI discussion papers 1206, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
    16. Wüst, Miriam, 2012. "Early interventions and infant health: Evidence from the Danish home visiting program," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 484-495.
    17. Grasgruber, P. & Cacek, J. & Kalina, T. & Sebera, M., 2014. "The role of nutrition and genetics as key determinants of the positive height trend," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 81-100.
    18. repec:zbw:rwirep:0504 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Franco Peracchi, 2008. "Height and Economic Development in Italy, 1730-1980," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 475-481, May.
    20. Raghav Gaiha & Vani Kulkarni & Manoj Pandey & Katsushi Imai, 2009. "Pro-poor growth, poverty, and inequality in rural Vietnam: welfare gap between the ethnic majority and minority," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0907, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    21. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Costly posturing: Relative status, ceremonies and early child development," IAMO Forum 2011: Will the "BRICs Decade" Continue? – Prospects for Trade and Growth 7, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).
    22. Richard E. Nelson, 2010. "Testing the Fetal Origins Hypothesis in a developing country: evidence from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(10), pages 1181-1192.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income

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