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The Effects of World War II on Economic and Health Outcomes across Europe

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

This paper investigates the long-run effects of World War II on socio-economic status (SES) and health of older individuals in Europe. Physical and psychological childhood events are important predictors for labor market and health outcomes in adult life, but studies that quantify these effects in large samples that cover entire diverse populations are still rare. It analyzes data from SHARELIFE, a retrospective survey conducted as part of the Survey on Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) in 2009. This survey provides detailed data on events in childhood including those during the war as well as several measures of exposure to war shocks such as experience of dispossession, persecution, combat in local areas, and hunger periods for over 20,000 individuals in 13 European countries. It finds that exposure to the war itself, and even more importantly to individual-level shocks caused by the war such as hunger periods, significantly predict economic and health outcomes at older ages.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR917.html
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Paper provided by RAND Corporation in its series Working Papers with number 917.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:917
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Tarek A. Hassan & James A. Robinson, 2011. "Social Structure and Development: A Legacy of the Holocaust in Russia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 895-946.
  2. 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.
  3. Neelsen, Sven & Stratmann, Thomas, 2011. "Effects of prenatal and early life malnutrition: Evidence from the Greek famine," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 479-488, May.
  4. Fabian Waldinger, 2016. "Bombs, Brains, and Science: The Role of Human and Physical Capital for the Creation of Scientific Knowledge," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(5), pages 811-831, December.
  5. James Banks & Alastair Muriel & James Smith, 2010. "Disease prevalence, disease incidence, and mortality in the United States and in England," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(1), pages 211-231, March.
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