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Individual Behavior as a Pathway Between Early-Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post-War Germany

Listed author(s):
  • Kesternich, Iris
  • Siflinger, Bettina
  • Smith, James P.
  • Winter, Joachim K.

This paper investigates long-run effects of episodes of hunger experienced as a child on health status and behavioral outcomes in later life. It combines self-reported data on hunger experiences from SHARELIFE, a retrospective survey conducted as part of SHARE in Europe in 2009, with administrative data on food supply (caloric rations) in post-war Germany. The data suggest that individual behavior is a pathway between early life shocks and adult health: It finds that those who experienced hunger spend a larger fraction of income on food. Taken together, the results confirm that in addition to the well-documented biological channel from early life circumstances to adult health, there is also a behavioral pathway.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR1015.html
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Paper provided by RAND Corporation in its series Working Papers with number 1015.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:1015
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  1. Gerard J. Berg & Pia R. Pinger & Johannes Schoch, 2016. "Instrumental Variable Estimation of the Causal Effect of Hunger Early in Life on Health Later in Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(591), pages 465-506, 03.
  2. Enkelejda Havari & Franco Peracchi, 2011. "Childhood circumstances and adult outcomes: Evidence from World War II," EIEF Working Papers Series 1115, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Aug 2012.
  3. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  4. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Quadratic Engel Curves And Consumer Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 527-539, November.
  5. Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2014. "The long-lasting effects of family background: A European cross-country comparison," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 25-42.
  6. James J. Heckman, 2012. "The developmental origins of health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 24-29, 01.
  7. Arthur Lewbel, 2010. "Shape-Invariant Demand Functions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 549-556, August.
  8. Linda Waite, 1995. "Does marriage matter?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(4), pages 483-507, November.
  9. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-172, Summer.
  10. Iris Kesternich & Bettina Siflinger & James P. Smith & Joachim K. Winter, 2014. "The Effects of World War II on Economic and Health Outcomes across Europe," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 103-118, March.
  11. Richard Blundell & Xiaohong Chen & Dennis Kristensen, 2007. "Semi-Nonparametric IV Estimation of Shape-Invariant Engel Curves," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1613-1669, November.
  12. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
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