The Lasting Damage to Mortality of Early-Life Adversity: Evidence from the English Famine of the Late 1720s

30 Pages Posted: 4 May 2011

See all articles by Marc Klemp

Marc Klemp

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Jacob Louis Weisdorf

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2, 2011

Abstract

This paper explores the long-term impact on mortality of exposure to early-life hardship. Using survival analysis, we document that birth during the great English famine of the late 1720s manifest itself in an increased death risk throughout life among those who survive the famine years. Using demographic data from the Cambridge Group’s Population History of England, we find that the death risk of affected individuals who survived to age 10 is up to 66 percent higher than that of their control-group counterparts (those born in the five years following the famine). This corresponds to a loss of life-expectancy of more than 12 years. We find that effects differ geographically as well as with the socioeconomic status of the household, with less well-off (manual-worker) families and families living in the English Midlands being hit the hardest. Evidence does not suggest, however, that children born in the five years prior to the famine suffered increased death risk.

Keywords: Death Risk, Malthus, Longevity, Positive Checks, Scarring Effect, Selection Effect

Suggested Citation

Klemp, Marc and Weisdorf, Jacob Louis, The Lasting Damage to Mortality of Early-Life Adversity: Evidence from the English Famine of the Late 1720s (May 2, 2011). Univ. of Copenhagen Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 11-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1828727 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1828727

Marc Klemp (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

Jacob Louis Weisdorf

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
19
Abstract Views
271
PlumX Metrics