Fertility and Early-Life Mortality: Evidence from Smallpox Vaccination in Sweden

42 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014 Last revised: 15 Jun 2015

See all articles by Philipp Ager

Philipp Ager

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Casper Worm Hansen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; University of Copenhagen

Peter S. Jensen

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

Date Written: June 2015

Abstract

Smallpox vaccination was the paramount medical innovation of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. We exploit the introduction of the smallpox vaccine in Sweden to identify the causal effect of early-life mortality on fertility. Our analysis shows that parishes in counties with higher levels of smallpox mortality prior to the introduction of vaccination experienced greater declines in infant mortality afterwards. Exploiting this finding in an instrumental-variable approach reveals that the decline in infant mortality had a negative effect on the birth rate, whereas we find a small insignificant effect on net fertility and population growth.

Keywords: Fertility transition, infant mortality, smallpox vaccine

JEL Classification: J10; J13; I15

Suggested Citation

Ager, Philipp and Hansen, Casper Worm and Jensen, Peter S., Fertility and Early-Life Mortality: Evidence from Smallpox Vaccination in Sweden (June 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2473514 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2473514

Philipp Ager

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Casper Worm Hansen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Copenhagen K, DK 1153
Denmark

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

Peter S. Jensen

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense M, 5230
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.sam.sdu.dk/staff/psj

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