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Heterogenous Mechanisms in WWII Stress Transmission: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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Abstract

This paper analyses how in utero exposure to maternal stress from WWII affects long-term health and economic outcomes and describes different mechanisms at work, showing that current health conditions are heterogeneously related to the type of fetal stressor. We exploit the Italian armistice of September 8th 1943 as exogenous variation in the war intensity, providing WWII long-run causal effects on objectively measured health and economic outcomes. We find that in utero exposure to intense WWII events had long- lasting effects on health and that Nazi massacres predict late-onset depression, while nutritional deprivation suffered in large cities had lasting effects on diabetes. Finally, we innovate by showing that these effects increase with the age of the treated individuals.

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  • Vincenzo Atella & Edoardo Di Porto & Joanna Kopinska, 2017. "Heterogenous Mechanisms in WWII Stress Transmission: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CSEF Working Papers 479, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:479
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    1. Havari, Enkelejda & Peracchi, Franco, 2017. "Growing up in wartime: Evidence from the era of two world wars," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 9-32.
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    6. Goldin, Claudia D, 1991. "The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 741-756, September.
    7. Richard Akresh & Sonia Bhalotra & Marinella Leone & Una Okonkwo Osili, 2012. "War and Stature: Growing Up during the Nigerian Civil War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 273-277, May.
    8. Maarten Lindeboom & Reyn van Ewijk, 2015. "“Babies of the War: The effect of war exposure early in life on mortality throughout life”," Working Papers 1519, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    9. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nadine Geiger & Sebastian Wichert, 2019. "Birth in times of war - An investigation of health, mortality and social class using historical clinical records," CESifo Working Paper Series 7593, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fetal programming hypothesis; War exposure; Nazi massacres; Stress; Famine; Chronic diseases; Health expenditure; Long-term effects; Italy.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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