Individual Behavior as a Pathway between Early-Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post-War Germany

35 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2013

See all articles by Iris Kesternich

Iris Kesternich

KU Leuven - Department of Economics; Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics

Bettina Siflinger

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

James P. Smith

RAND Corporation; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Joachim K. Winter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA); Deutsche Bundesbank - Research Department

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Date Written: September 23, 2013

Abstract

This paper investigates long-run effects of episodes of hunger experienced as a child on health status and behavioral outcomes in later life. It combines self-reported data on hunger experiences from SHARELIFE, a retrospective survey conducted as part of SHARE in Europe in 2009, with administrative data on food supply (caloric rations) in post-war Germany. The data suggest that individual behavior is a pathway between early life shocks and adult health: It finds that those who experienced hunger spend a larger fraction of income on food. Taken together, the results confirm that in addition to the well-documented biological channel from early life circumstances to adult health, there is also a behavioral pathway.

Suggested Citation

Kesternich, Iris and Siflinger, Bettina and Smith, James P. and Winter, Joachim K., Individual Behavior as a Pathway between Early-Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post-War Germany (September 23, 2013). RAND Working Paper Series WR-1015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2329899 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2329899

Iris Kesternich (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Department of Economics ( email )

Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
Germany

Bettina Siflinger

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

James P. Smith

RAND Corporation ( email )

P.O. Box 2138
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Joachim K. Winter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) ( email )

Amalienstrasse 33
Munich, 80799
Germany

Deutsche Bundesbank - Research Department ( email )

PO Box 10 06 02
D60006 Frankfurt
Germany

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