Being Born under Adverse Economic Conditions Leads to a Higher Cardiovascular Mortality Rate Later in Life: Evidence Based on Individuals Born at Different Stages of the Business Cycle

45 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2008  

Gerard J. van den Berg

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Tinbergen Institute

Gabriele Doblhammer-Reiter

University of Rostock

Kaare Christensen

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

We connect the recent medical and economic literatures on the long-run effects of early-life conditions, by analyzing the effects of economic conditions on the individual cardiovascular (CV) mortality rate later in life, using individual data records from the Danish Twin Registry covering births since the 1870s and including the cause of death. To capture exogenous variation of conditions early in life we use the state of the business cycle around birth. We find a significant negative effect of economic conditions early in life on the individual CV mortality rate at higher ages. There is no effect on the cancer-specific mortality rate. From variation within and between monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs born under different conditions we conclude that the fate of an individual is more strongly determined by genetic and household-environmental factors if early-life conditions are poor. Individual-specific qualities come more to fruition if the starting position in life is better.

Keywords: longevity, genetic determinants, health, recession, life expectancy, cardiovascular disease, cancer, lifetimes, fetal programming, cause of death, developmental origins

JEL Classification: I10, J14, C41, H75, E32, J10, N33, N13, I12, I18

Suggested Citation

van den Berg, Gerard J. and Doblhammer-Reiter, Gabriele and Christensen, Kaare, Being Born under Adverse Economic Conditions Leads to a Higher Cardiovascular Mortality Rate Later in Life: Evidence Based on Individuals Born at Different Stages of the Business Cycle. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3635. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1230822 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Gerard J. Van den Berg (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 444 6132 (Phone)
+32 20 444 6020 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Tinbergen Institute

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Gabriele Doblhammer-Reiter

University of Rostock ( email )

Ulmenstr. 69
Rostock, 18057
Germany

Kaare Christensen

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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