A Validation Study of Transgenerational Effects of Childhood Conditions on the Third Generation Offspring's Economic and Health Outcomes Potentially Driven by Epigenetic Imprinting

39 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2014

See all articles by Gerard J. van den Berg

Gerard J. van den Berg

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

Pia R. Pinger

University of Bonn

Abstract

At the crossroads of economics and human biology, this paper examines the extent to which pre-puberty nutritional conditions in one generation affect productivity-related outcomes in later generations. Recent studies have found a negative association between conditions at ages 8-12 and the grandchild's over-all and cardiovascular and diabetes mortality in a single historical dataset. It has been argued that this association reflects epigenetic imprinting, which has been corroborated in animal studies. We provide an external validation by analyzing the impact of the German famine of 1916-1918 on children and grandchildren of those exposed to the famine at ages 8-12. Our findings support and extend the evidence so far. Among the third generation, males (females) tend to have higher mental health scores if their paternal grandfather (maternal grandmother) was exposed. We do not find robust effects on the probability of obtaining an upper secondary education.

Keywords: famine, transgenerational transmission, epigenetics, mental health, education, long-run effects, nutrition, intergenerational effects, slow-growth period

JEL Classification: I12, J11

Suggested Citation

van den Berg, Gerard J. and Pinger, Pia R., A Validation Study of Transgenerational Effects of Childhood Conditions on the Third Generation Offspring's Economic and Health Outcomes Potentially Driven by Epigenetic Imprinting. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2403135

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)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Tinbergen Institute

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Pia R. Pinger

University of Bonn ( email )

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
60
Abstract Views
456
rank
374,012
PlumX Metrics