Early-Life Disease Exposure and Occupational Status: The Impact of Yellow Fever During the 19th Century

49 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2013 Last revised: 7 Sep 2016

See all articles by Martin Hugo Saavedra

Martin Hugo Saavedra

Oberlin College - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 5, 2016

Abstract

Using city-of-birth data from the 100-percent sample of the 1880 Census merged to city-level fatality counts, I estimate the relationship between early-life yellow fever exposure and adult occupational status. I find that white males with immigrant mothers were less likely to become professionals and more likely to become unskilled laborers or report occupational nonresponse if they were born during yellow fever epidemics. They also reported occupations with lower 1900 occupational income scores. The children of U.S.-born mothers (who were less susceptible to the disease) were relatively unaffected. Furthermore, I find no evidence that epidemics 3 to 4 years after birth affect adult occupational status and the results are robust to controlling for local trade during an individual's birth year.

Keywords: fetal origins, early childhood, yellow fever, occupation, urban mortality penalty

JEL Classification: N31, I13, I14

Suggested Citation

Saavedra, Martin Hugo, Early-Life Disease Exposure and Occupational Status: The Impact of Yellow Fever During the 19th Century (September 5, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2313295 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2313295

Martin Hugo Saavedra (Contact Author)

Oberlin College - Department of Economics ( email )

Oberlin, OH 44074
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.oberlin.edu/faculty/msaavedr

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