Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/58706
Authors: 
van den Berg, Gerard J.
Pinger, Pia
Schoch, Johannes
Year of Publication: 
2011
Series/Report no.: 
Discussion Paper series, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit 6110
Abstract: 
Numerous studies have evaluated the effect of nutrition early in life on health much later in life by comparing individuals born during a famine to others. Nutritional intake is typically unobserved and endogenous, whereas famines arguably provide exogenous variation in the provision of nutrition. However, living through a famine early in life does not necessarily imply a lack of nutrition during that age interval, and vice versa, and in this sense the observed difference at most provides a qualitative assessment of the average causal effect of a nutritional shortage, which is the parameter of interest. In this paper we estimate this average causal effect on health outcomes later in life, by applying instrumental variable estimation, using data with self-reported periods of hunger earlier in life, with famines as instruments. The data contain samples from European countries and include birth cohorts exposed to various famines in the 20th century. We use two-sample IV estimation to deal with imperfect recollection of conditions at very early stages of life. The estimated average causal effects often exceed famine effects by a factor three.
Subjects: 
nutrition
famine
ageing
developmental origins
height
high blood pressure
obesity
2SLS
two-sample IV
JEL: 
I12
J11
C21
C26
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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