From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health

33 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2011 Last revised: 19 Apr 2021

See all articles by Douglas Almond

Douglas Almond

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Janet Currie

Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Mariesa A Herrmann

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

This paper examines the links between the disease environment around the time of a woman's birth, and her health at the time she delivers her own infant. Our results suggest that exposure to disease in early childhood significantly increases the incidence of diabetes in the population of future mothers. The exposed mothers are less likely to be married, have fewer years of education, are more likely to gain over 60 pounds while pregnant, and are more likely to smoke while pregnant. Not surprisingly then, exposure increases the probability of low birth weight in the next generation, at least among whites. Among whites, this effect remains when we control for maternal behaviors as well as disease exposure. Among blacks, we find that maternal exposure reduces the incidence of low birth weight. The difference between whites and blacks may reflect a "scarring" vs. selection story; whites who go on to have children are negatively impacted, while blacks who go on to have children are positively selected having survived a higher early childhood mortality rate.

Suggested Citation

Almond, Douglas Vincent and Currie, Janet and Herrmann, Mariesa A, From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health (December 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17676, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1973887

Douglas Vincent Almond (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
International Affairs Building, MC 3308
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-3239 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Janet Currie

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
6092587393 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

Mariesa A Herrmann

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. ( email )

P.O. Box 2393
Princeton, NJ 08543-2393
United States
609-716-4544 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
26
Abstract Views
751
PlumX Metrics