Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/89998
Authors: 
van den Berg, Gerard J.
Modin, Bitte
Year of Publication: 
2013
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Paper 7605
Abstract: 
We analyze interaction effects of birth weight and the business cycle at birth on individual cardiovascular (CV) mortality later in life. In addition, we examine to what extent these long-run effects run by way of cognitive ability and education and to what extent those mitigate the long-run effects. We use individual records of Swedish birth cohorts from 1915–1929 covering birth weight, family characteristics, school grades, sibling identifiers, and outcomes later in life including the death cause. The birth weight distribution does not vary over the business cycle. The association between birth weight (across the full range) and CV mortality rate later in life is significantly stronger if the individual is born in a recession. This is not explained by differential fertility by social class over the cycle. Ability itself, as measured at age 10, varies with birth weight and the cycle at birth. But the long-run effects of early-life conditions appear to mostly reflect direct biological mechanisms. We do not find evidence of indirect pathways through ability or education, and the long-run effects are not mitigated by education.
Subjects: 
longevity
genetic determinants
health
business cycle
life expectancy
cardiovascular disease
school grades
siblings
fetal programming
cause of death
life course
developmental origins
nature and nurture
cognitive ability
education
stratified partial likelihood
recession
JEL: 
I10
I12
I21
I31
J10
J13
N34
C41
E32
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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